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Four restaurant trends that are not going away

Restaurant Design for Social Media 

Photo of Sweetberry Bowls, a successful New Jersey based smoothie bowl chain

Love it or hate it, Instagram has become one of the most important tools for restaurant marketing. Before the photo dominant social platform, the only way to see a restaurant’s dishes was through their website. Now, Instagram has made it possible to have any visual of a restaurant’s dish at the tip of your fingertips. According to an article in the Independent, “18-35-year-olds spend five whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram, and 30 per cent would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence was weak.” Therefore a major shift in the food industry is to create both dishes and environments that are photo friendly. With so much to think about, it’s tempting to ignore the social media impact, but it doesn’t take much to make your space and/or your food photo worthy for Instagram. A few small, affordable changes or additions, can do wonders for your business- making diners excited to photograph the food and the place.

Fast Casual

We know that the word is getting old, but the global demand for high-end food served in a relaxed atmosphere has not waned. So much so that Tim Carman noted in The Washington Post, “America, it appears, is no longer a Fast Food Nation. It’s a Fast-Casual Nation.” According to Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report,  fast-casual chains grew sales by 8.9% last year and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down much in 2018, with chains continuing to open and investors continuing to put money toward the industry. Even celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey are getting on board with a recent investment in True Food Kitchen . Of course there is room for innovation and change in the sector, but it seems like fast casual is more than a fad, it’s a lifestyle statement.

Delivery 



Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

Everywhere you look it seems like a new restaurant delivery company is sprouting. Food delivery companies such as Swiggy in India have raised $210 million and GrubHub, which is based in the U.S, continues to grow substantially, increasing the number of unique diner accounts by more than 70% in 2017 alone. Restaurants are designing their operations for delivery by creating menus with takeout and delivery in mind and redesigning spaces to accommodate delivery command stations. Ghost kitchens, spaces made only for delivery purposes, are also on the rise. According to the Financial Post, “A survey of 100 of New York City’s top customer-rated restaurants via delivery services, Seamless and GrubHub found that more than 10 per cent came from ghost restaurants.” Focusing a part of your restaurant’s operations on delivery or expanding your operations to meet delivery is probably not a bad idea – it’s a way to decrease the cost of labor and increase margins, but it’s also a way to prepare for the future. As automated cars and drone delivery technology seems to becomes less of a Jetsons fantasy and more of a reality, food delivery will continue to grow.

Vegetables

Whether it be a trend toward Mediterranean cuisine with upsurge of restaurants such as Cava Grill, famous chefs hailing from the Middle East, or specific plant based dishes which seem to be getting the spotlight, the trend toward highlighting vegetables is continuing to grow. It seems that people are becoming more attuned to the idea that vegetables can be as satisfying as meat and they want to discover how chefs that can do that. According to Just Eat, a food delivery app that serves 20 million customers globally, there is a significant rise in vegetable based dishes ordered and restaurants offering more meatless dishes. Grubhub reported that vegetable entrees, such as jackfruit and cauliflower steaks, are on the rise for delivery in 2018, reinforcing national culinary forecasts. Therefore, what we continue to see is not only a growing number of plant based restaurants, but a growing number of all kinds of restaurants, featuring more vegetables on their menus. So go for it! Show people that a cauliflower can be as titillating as a ribeye.

 

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