With the start of a new year comes a new wave of restaurant trends that are bound to sweep the nation. Some trends are fads, which can give you a temporary financial boost, while other trends have the ability to redefine the foodservice industry. However, it can be difficult trying to determine which trends are short-lived and which are here to stay. That is why we've compiled a list of the top 3 restaurant trends that will give you long-term results in the new year and possibly the new decade.

1. Plant-Based Foods

If you haven't already noticed, plant-based food alternatives have been popping up at grocery stores and restaurants with increasing frequency over the last few years. National fast-food chains have even added plant-based burgers and other plant-based protein foods to their menus.

The reason for this move is largely due to allergies and the rise of veganism, vegetarianism, and other diets. People who follow these diets are looking for places to eat that cater to their preferences and allergy restrictions. Consider adding the popular plant-based foods listed below to increase the variety on your menu.

What Are Popular Plant-Based Alternatives?

  • Plant-based milks: Soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk are just a few of the choices available when it comes to plant-based milk. Offering these alternatives will attract lactose-intolerant customers and allow you to add new flavors to your drinks and dishes.
  • Meatless proteins: Adding meatless items to your menu, such as veggie burgers and meatless loaves, is a great way to implement sustainable practices in your restaurant and reduce the impact of animal agriculture.
  • Cauliflower: Experimenting with cauliflower is a must for 2020. This versatile and low-carb vegetable has already been used to create pizza crust, making it a great option for customers with gluten allergies. You can also try cauliflower mashed potatoes, cauliflower rice, and other healthful substitutes for popular side dishes. Additionally, there are some meat-alternative uses for cauliflower including cauliflower wings and cauliflower steaks.

2. Technology

Adopting the latest technology in your restaurant can help you provide a faster and more efficient service for your customers. Take a look at these examples of the latest restaurant tech to see which one best suits your establishment.

 

Ways To Add New Technology To Your Restaurant

  • Online pick up / delivery: Offer delivery and pick up services to your customers through an online website or app. If you can't create your own website or app, partner with one of the many third-party delivery services so potential customers can discover your establishment and easily access your menu for delivery or pick up orders.
  • Voice bots: Customers aren't just using the voice assistants on their phones to remind them of upcoming errands, they're ordering food too! While this technology is still in its infancy, the country's largest restaurant chains have already made use of it. Voice ordering is faster and even more convenient than online ordering which is why you should add this service to your establishment, or at least keep your eye on it until it further develops.
  • Self-ordering kiosks: This tech has had a long time coming, but it has finally gained traction in the past year. Restaurants have been experimenting with self-ordering kiosks as far back as 2006. According to research conducted by Tillster, 65% of customers are more likely to visit a restaurant with self-ordering kiosks and 30% of customers prefer ordering from a kiosk over a cashier.

3. Zero Waste

With the current state of the environment, many businesses have made the shift to becoming more eco-friendly. The zero-waste movement uses new techniques to cut food waste and find alternatives to food packaging materials that are harmful to the earth. Joining the movement will help you reduce money loss through food waste and showcase your values to your clientele. While becoming 100% free of waste might be challenging, try a few of the following tips to help you in your transition to running a waste-free restaurant.

Tips To Transition To A Zero-Waste Restaurant

  • Conduct a waste audit to determine what is being thrown away in large portions
  • Donate or compost leftover food
  • Use compostable or biodegradable packaging items
  • Sort your waste into categories (such as recycling, compost, and landfill)
  • Practice proper food storage techniques
  • Organize and keep track of your inventory

Making Way For The Future

Following the future food trends of 2020 will help you stay on top of the industry and increase the lifespan of your business. Trends aren't just about updating your establishment, they allow you to get in touch with what is important to your customers. The trends of this year are proof that customers care about what they're eating, where they're eating, and the quality of service. With this information, you can create your own trends and pave the way towards the future.