Jul 21, 2022
Service Trends that will shape the Restaurant Industry in 2022

Like many industries, the onset of the pandemic has changed the future of restaurants forever. According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 110,000 eating and drinking establishments in the US closed for business, either temporarily or permanently. Since the lockdown and other restrictions were linked to unprecedented labor and supply chain pressures, restaurants must evolve with the latest restaurant industry trends to stay in tune with the times. With most restaurants in the US already embracing technology and methodologies to improve their operations, one can expect a lot of changes to accommodate the realities of this new digital first world.

We have compiled a list of the emerging  restaurant trends in 2022. Hop on to find out some of the biggest trends in the restaurant business.

  1. Sanitation and hygiene taking the center stage

A survey conducted by OpenTable revealed that a whopping 72% of customers believe that implementing strict cleaning policies is extremely important in restaurants. Given the spread of deadly coronavirus, sanitation and safety have become imperative for customers. With this notion in mind, the National Restaurant Association released safety guidelines for restaurant re-openings with sanitation being the focal point. As per the guidelines, it’s crucial for food businesses like restaurants to thoroughly sanitize the workstations of kitchen staff, seats and tables, restrooms, and other fixtures to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19.  

  1. Adoption of smart, labor-saving technology

Finding and retaining employees has always been a huge challenge for restaurant owners. The onset of the pandemic has made it even worse as many people are either unwilling or unable to work in close proximity to others. To navigate this significant challenge, most restaurants today are keeping an eye on restaurant industry trends and investing in smart labor-saving technologies. 

Some of these technologies include self-service kiosks, table management systems, mobile applications for ordering, and voice assistants to automate drive-in and drive-thru orders. By adopting such technologies, it’s become much easier for restaurants to allocate responsibilities to staff members and automate customer payments. Furthermore, it has helped food businesses reduce labor costs and build an efficient working environment. 

  1. Shorter and simplified menus 

When it comes to an exceptional dining experience, menu variety plays a substantial role. A huge menu with multiple cuisines is one attempt that every restaurant makes, rather than focus on doing a few things well. But with the changing and emerging trends in restaurants, most businesses today understand the challenges never-ending menus bring and the concept is gradually coming to an end. 

It’s been noted that with long menus, the quality of food gets low and it directly impacts the profitability of the restaurant. Therefore, restaurants today are trimming down the menu and it’s giving chefs the chance to prepare quality food, with greater proficiency. In addition, it’s also enabling restaurants to streamline their inventory management, slim down the food cost, and reduce food waste. 

  1. Addition of plant-based options to menus 

A new study reveals that around 14% of US consumers today follow a meat-free diet. While environmental concerns, animal welfare, and moral values are some of the reasons for the increased popularity of plant-based products, most people perceive such food items as a healthier option. With more people turning vegan, failing to provide plant-based options may result in losing out on customers and business opportunities. As this is already one of the emerging restaurant trends 2022, many businesses have already added vegan and vegetarian options to their menus. In fact, leading fast-food chains like Burger King and McDonald's have started offering vegan options to their customers.

  1. Contactless ordering and payments 

The pandemic has introduced the restaurant industry to a new normal of ordering food and making payments. Most restaurants today provide guests with an option of scanning the QR code to access the menus, place the food order, and make payments online.In fact, they have also developed their own mobile wallet apps for contactless payments. Such technological implementations not just allow food businesses to reduce their operational costs, but also enable them to deliver a seamless customer experience, increase employee tips, and reduce errors. 

  1. Automation of certain kitchen processes 

In addition to contactless ordering and payments, restaurants are bringing automation to streamline kitchen processes and to ensure a consistent experience for guests. With the rapid advancements in technology, food businesses are also investing in digital technology to automate the tasks for back-of-house staff such as dishwashing. Apart from this, equipping kitchens with robots for automating the process of combining liquids, and preparing coffee enables restaurants to maintain standardization of  taste and quality across all branches. Having a robot that takes the accurate measurement of ingredients or the one with arms that flips burgers allows restaurants to reduce their labor size. 

  1. Implementation of Ways to Boost Customer Engagement

As the restaurant industry is growing at a rapid pace over the last decade, it’s become critical for restaurant owners to develop ways to retain their customers. When it comes to boosting customer engagement and keeping customers coming back throughout the year, many restaurants are rethinking their business strategies. Some of the strategies include subscriptions, memberships, meal and cocktail kits, virtual tasting, and more.

There’s no denying that loyalty programs in restaurants have been around for years, however the approaches have become sophisticated over time. Today, restaurant owners have developed innovative ways  to easily understand the needs of their customers and meet their expectations to increase customer satisfaction. Moreover, they’ve tied up with food delivery apps to gain share in the competitive market. The surge-in demand of home delivery has enabled restaurants, including 5-stars to offer delivery options and provide their customers with an exceptional and memorable experience in the comfort of their homes. As a result, restaurant businesses can maximize their sales and profits. 

Keep Your Food Service Business in Line with Restaurant Trends 2022 

Intending to recover from the slowdown and losses in 2020 and 2021, restaurateurs have re-examined all the aspects of their business and revamped their operations. If you’re a restaurateur responding slowly to changing restaurant industry trends, it’s high time that you pick up the pace to survive in this ever-evolving social and economic landscape. 

Staying abreast of the latest and upcoming trends in restaurants is critical to offer your guests an exceptional dining experience, entice prospective customers, and succeed even in the most challenging times like COVID-19. We hope this blog will help you take quick and decisive actions in order to give your food service business a competitive edge. If you have implemented any other strategy to keep your restaurant running, do share with us.

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