Restaurant Industry Trends | 3 mins read

5 Restaurant Industry Trends Every Food Business Should Know

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Mary Kate Morrow

By Mary Kate Morrow

2021 is an exciting year for United States restaurant owners and the restaurant industry overall. After an absolutely devastating year of social distancing and coronavirus pandemic shutdowns, dining rooms are finally opening back up. From National Restaurant Association press releases to social media posts, there is much conversation regarding industry trends for 2021.

United States restaurant industry trends include invaluable insight on everything from consumer preferences to third party delivery services. Importantly, restaurant operators and restaurant business employees that research upcoming trends will undoubtedly have an advantage. Understanding restaurant trends benefits restaurant owners from New York full service establishments to California fast food joints. 5 restaurant industry trends to look out for include-

1. Food Delivery

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Coronavirus pandemic lockdowns and social distancing guidelines universally revolutionized the restaurant industry. Uber eats and other third party food delivery services are now directly defining top trends for 2021 and beyond. Customers ordering delivery have options ranging from full service fine dining to fast food menu items. The National Restaurant Association and social media dialogues predict even after social distancing stops, customers increasingly ordering delivery will continue.

Long term implications of third party delivery services are top restaurant concerns. 84% of restaurant owners report third party delivery service fees are so high that profits are not worth it. With Uber Eats and other third party delivery services charging 30% of profits, customers ordering delivery directly is worth investigating.

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2. Pop-Ups

The National Restaurant Association acknowledges the rise of pop ups as one of the top trends restaurant operators should recognize. Pop ups are temporary mini restaurants that can be hosted in various locations, from parks to event centers. The pop up trend is not limited to a specific location or restaurant business type. In the past, Michelin star fine dining chefs have made headlines with their pop up restaurant participation. Alternatively, small business restaurant owners can use pop ups for consumer preferences and food trends testing. Pop ups might sell anything from an expensive eco friendly and plant based meal to a cheap quick service snack.

3. Ghost Kitchens

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Perhaps the spookiest sounding restaurant industry trend, ghost kitchens are increasing in popularity. With social distancing and pandemic protocol, the restaurant industry embraced the ghost kitchen trend. A ghost kitchen solely operates out of a kitchen with no dining room or area. The ghost kitchen POS system decreases food service staffing needs with customers ordering delivery individually. As such, the ghost kitchen and food delivery industry trends often work in tandem. A ghost kitchen may provide their own delivery or utilize third party delivery services like Uber Eats or Grubhub.

4. Socially Conscious

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United States restaurant industry and hospitality industry workers increasingly acknowledge eco friendly and plant based dining trends. Switching to more plant based and eco friendly options produces press and social media conversations. Eco friendly and plant based options are also more mindful of consumer preferences and dietary restrictions. Fast food chains including Burger King and Pizza Hut are even jumping on board. For example, Pizza Hut recently introduced an eco friendly round box. Additionally, Burger King launched a plant based version of their fan classic.

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Try it free for 14 days.

5. QR codes

In order to adhere to social distancing and safety concerns, many restaurants began using QR code systems. The QR code is a two dimensional barcode that supplies customers with a wealth of information. The QR code appears as a sticker that customers use their smartphones to scan and bring up information. QR code content commonly includes menus, restaurant history, loyalty card data, and delivery service information. Many restaurants also have QR code systems that allow patrons to visit third party review sites. By linking the QR code with POS system software, dining experiences are more eco friendly and safer.

  • Restaurant industry trends to look out for range from QR codes to eco friendly packaging.
  • Gaining a better understanding of restaurant trends supplies food service professionals with a competitive edge.

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