The food and beverage industry is no doubt a flourishing one, but this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t face a number of challenges, such as personnel shortage, economic crises and changing guest preferences. Restaurant owners need to take into account all these complications and work on them in order to improve their businesses if they want to remain relevant and profitable in 2020. Let’s have a look at the restaurant industry 2020 trends.
What follows is an overview of the changes happening in 2019 and coming into 2020 related to the food and beverage industry, and what you can do in order to adjust to them with minimal impact on your operation.
Menu shifts and healthy eating
The menu of a restaurant is really important when it comes to keeping the guests satisfied. After all, they’re coming to your business to eat, so your main goal is to please their palate. To this end, you should make sure that you change your menu every once in a while because this will allow you to find out what room there is for improvement, as well as open new horizons to you and your guests.
Another menu-related issue is the move of new generations towards a healthier lifestyle and healthier eating habits. Bowls were trendy last year and, although this year they aren’t as much, still the focus remains on healthier eating options. According to research, the number of people who follow plant-based diets will grow rapidly in 2020, since enough products will have been developed that can sufficiently substitute meat, after several years of research.
These are still trending, but you’d better forget about Latin American and French influences- the current trend is Pan Asian and Middle Eastern menus. Keep in mind that by Pan Asian we don’t mean fusion, but anything that comes from the gastronomic culture of any Asian country. At the same time, and in the lines of exoticness and uniqueness, there is expected to be a development of menus based on exotic fruit, such as prickly pear or dragon fruit, citron, makrut lime, pomelo, yuzu and more. The main idea is to create colorful, Instagram-friendly dishes that first appeal to the eye and then the palate.
Now, a short menu is a key concept. Avoid offering long menus to your guests. This may only result in sacrificing quality while trying to satisfy everyone. The trend is to craft a short menu or split your menu between meal periods. By using a short menu, you will be able to limit your inventory, minimize food waste, improve food quality and increase profitability.
The concepts of ghost-kitchens and pop-up restaurants
This term refers to a restaurant that only offers a delivery option and has no room for guests to dine on-site. Customers can order over the phone or online. In order to help your business grow in this direction, it would be advisable to turn to experts that offer consulting and coaching services in order to create a specific concept.
How is this beneficial to the operation?
This way, restaurant owners significantly reduce their cost, since they don’t have to pay for waitstaff and lower overhead costs.
A brief history of ghost-kitchens
Such kitchens first appeared in cities where property lease prices rendered the idea of opening a proper profitable restaurant unfeasible. Over the years, it has become all the more popular and the change happening in 2019 is that they almost exclusively referred to restaurants that worked only through third-party delivery services. However, the ghost kitchen definition is evolving to include a small pick-up area that will allow guests to pick up their orders themselves.
Today, there are ghost-kitchens all over the world and the trend is rapidly spreading due to the advantages it offers. This has led to the launching of companies that pick up the orders at the ghost kitchen and deliver them to the customers. Some of the most prominent companies to operate like this are Foodora and FoodPanda – with worldwide ghost kitchens that deliver in 15 countries so far, UberEats, launched by Uber in 2014 in California, and Skip the Dishes, founded in 2012 in Canada.
These are also trending this year. While there have been many themed pop-up diners so far, such as Friends-inspired “Central Perk” locations, the pop-up trend is not necessarily related to themed spots. For instance, there is the Gucci Osteria in Singapore, featuring Massimo Bottura, a three-Michelin-star chef, as their first food venture outside of Italy. But, apart from themed and fine dining spots, pop-up restaurants can be anything, though they always come with exclusivity. Don’t forget, however, to use the pop up to feed business back to your stationary restaurant.
As you very well know by now, delivery doesn’t refer to cheap fast-food chains anymore. It can also mean that you can have a fine-dining experience at the comfort of your couch, through apps like Caviar. Now, there are two options when it comes to incorporating delivery services into your business.
- Manage the delivery services independently, as pizza companies have long done, or
- Let a third party handle your orders, especially if you’re just now adding a delivery option to your business.
However, the latter at times can cause more problems than it will solve. Some of the drawbacks it can have for your business are:
- A lack of urgency, since the driver has limited accountability to the restaurant or
- Customer service complaints that will affect your business while in reality only concern drivers and delivery personnel.
- The delivery service might take recognition and result in your restaurant losing its value and reputation.
So be careful and consider the pros and cons when deciding to go for independent delivery management or a third party.
Another trend that is expected to spread even more in 2020 is the guests’ need for customization. Whether this means that they can decide on the ingredients to put in their dishes, or toasters that hot-stamp personalized messages, customers want this eating experience to be as personalized as possible.
Customers seem to be all the more concerned about sustainability when it comes to both packaging and ingredients, and justifiably so. People are becoming more and more sensitive when it comes to plastic, water and food waste and businesses need to adapt to this new situation. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to take drastic measures like McDonald’s, which announced that by 2025 they will be using only eco-friendly materials for all of their guest packagings. Yet, you can opt for materials and ingredients that will render your business more eco-friendly.
Alternatively, you can do it the French way: France has just announced that by 2022 they will be eliminating register receipts for purchases of less than €30. Starting from September 2020, they will be introducing the measure for purchases under €10, to expand to €20 in January 2021 until eventually reaching the €30 goal. Similarly, you can give your customers the option of an email bill and receipt instead of a paper one.
Get in line with technology
Food-and-beverage business owners need to take into account changing customers’ preferences. More specifically, guests seem to seek a reservation option online, as well as an online menu that they can review before deciding to visit a restaurant. Building a professional website for your operation might be a significant investment, but it might prove life-saving in the long run. You can also evaluate options such as OpenTable or Reserve, or even allow potential guests to make reservations through Yelp- this will make it easier for them to find you, get directions to your restaurant and even look at your menu.
To conclude, you should always make sure you are relevant and relatable as a business in order to remain in the game and keep blooming and, hopefully, the above tips will help you be profitable in 2020.
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