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  • Writer's pictureAdriana

Growing Restaurant Trends in 2020, According to Industry Experts

What will some of the emerging current trends in the restaurant industry be in 2019? What trends should you adapt to in order for your restaurant business to gain momentum? We asked some of the industry experts to predict the next big things.

Restaurant Trends in 2019

“We expect delivery to grow in 2019”

“We expect delivery to grow in 2019 as restaurant brands try to figure out how to make it profitable while, at the same time, maintaining the quality of their food. Many big brands have already started offering delivery. And at Penn Station, we are evaluating these trends and evaluating all facets to obtain a better understanding of the long-term ramifications of delivery’s effect on the quality of the product before we jump in. With more and more restaurants opening and consumers dining out the same amount, competition continues to increase so maintaining high food quality is critical for 2019.” Craig Dunaway, President at Penn Station East Coast Subs

“Millennial preferences will affect full-service business”

“We are watching technology closely to see how millennial preferences will affect full-service business, due to their seeming preference for interacting with technology. And all that while evaluating the overall ‘experience’ of dining out. We are always searching out ways to keep the two integrated when they seem on face value to be mutually exclusive. Thanks to Neal Dennis, Chief Operating Officer at Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes and Fries

“Ghost Kitchens”

“I think the biggest new trend that you will see in 2019 will be “Ghost Kitchens”. As we all have seen, delivery and off-premise delivery continue to increase its share of sales in the restaurant space. In addition, occupancy costs, labor costs, and other semi-controllable costs continue to increase. In certain major markets, retail real estate rental rates can be over $100/sqft. This means that if you are not a concept that can achieve $2mm+ in gross revenue, your chance for making any profit is very low.  So to combat this, I believe restaurants will open what is being referred to as “Ghost Kitchens”. Ghost Kitchens are non-retail, not open to the public, kitchens that serve food to customers only through delivery, and in rare cases window pick up. The occupancy costs of this kind of new restaurant is much lower and gives restauranteurs the ability to open in major urban markets with an economic model that works. They will primarily use delivery aggregators to distribute their product. This concept will be a major growth factor for the restaurant industry in 2019 and beyond.” Ashley Morris, Chief Executive Officer of Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

“Digitalization both for the consumers and the restaurant owners”

“One of the biggest trends within the restaurant industry in 2019 is the growing role of digitalization both for the consumers and the restaurant owners. Consumers make decisions visiting restaurant websites, they use apps, make orders online, read reviews and share their experience with other users on social media. Recent years have shown significant growth of posting food-related pictures and restaurant locations on social media by users of all ages. Restaurant business will become more cashless. The whole food-serving and delivery processes will be managed using online order technologies and online banking. Digitalization in the restaurant industry will help the owners to identify tastes and needs of the customers. This will help them to create completely personalized menus, develop effective marketing campaigns, including special offers and discounts. As event venues, restaurants will use online technologies to offer their spaces for events, introducing the best seating plans and capacities depending on the number of guests.” Thanks to Anna Bessonowa, Director of Operations at Magic Day Luxury Experiences

“Delivery orders will become increasingly important”

Delivery Services: “As takeout continues to grow in popularity, to-go and delivery orders will become increasingly important to restaurants in 2019 and beyond. With a little bit of work up front, they’re a great way to increase brand awareness and boost your cash flow. To get the most from your third-party delivery service, take the time to find the right partner, agree a service fee, and watch your bottom line closely to make sure it’s working for you.” Tech: “Many U.S. restaurants have been quick to adopt technology in its many forms to maximize efficiency and improve customer experience, and this will now roll out to the majority. Apps, mobile ordering, self-serve checkout pads, even robotics and cobotics are no longer ‘nice to have’ features but must-haves that will help you stay competitive. Staffing needs are changing as a result. You may find you need fewer cashiers but more kitchen staff to fulfill mobile orders, for example.” Thanks to Michelle Flores-Gonzalez, Vice President, Director of Operations at Flores Financial

“Online reviews, particularly Yelp, Tripadvisor, Google and Facebook are one of the primary ways new customers will decide whether to visit your business”

“85% of people will research a business online prior to making a purchaseAfter having a positive experience with a company77% of customers would recommend it to a friend74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more

When searching for local business customers are many times more likely to choose a business with positive online reviews than not. Regular online reviews improve websites ranking on Google and this can help drive customer acquisition. SEO is closely tied to Google reviews. When searching for local businesses online, users are now shown Google review ratings for local businesses BEFORE websites. A steady stream of online reviews is viewed by Google as a source of trustworthiness and authority. This is a key factor which directly affects your website SEO for local searches. The better your SEO, the higher your website is ranked when users search for local businesses.” Thanks to Dan Strutt, Co-Founder at App.Foundation & Sapsuma

“Restaurants are able to hone their catering best practices and gain brand exposure they might not otherwise reach via foot traffic”

“For growing trends in the restaurant industry, consider more restaurants leaning on corporate catering as an additional revenue stream to offset rising costs in operations. From the local restaurant perspective, office catering partnerships provide a valuable additional revenue stream with some partners reaching more than $1 Million dollars in sales. Not only that but restaurants are able to hone their catering best practices and gain brand exposure they might not otherwise reach via foot traffic. In fact, in a recent survey, we found that 63% of employees say they have visited new restaurants they discovered through their office’s meals. Meanwhile in the office, catered meals give employees a valuable time- and money-saving benefit while offering employers a way to encourage collaboration and productivity in the office.” Thanks to Megan Palmer, Director of Communications at ZeroCater

“There is an emphasis on creative ways to sell food to customers to enjoy off-site”

“As a supplier to thousands of restaurants including large chains, here is what we see trending for the next year: Off-premises including delivery, pick-up, catering, food trucks and service at special events. Dining rooms are getting smaller and there is an emphasis on creative ways to sell food to customers to enjoy off-site. This trend requires new skills including how to package and ensure proper temps are maintained. More robust packaging is required that can maintain quality and presentation. Also, branded packaging is more important as consumers are not in the restaurant’s own environment. Sustainable packaging and other supplies. Many municipalities and foodservice companies are implementing policies to reduce the use of certain items such as plastic straws and expanded polystyrene (foam) products. There is a great demand for products that can easily be recycled and/or composted. However, there is a lack of commercial composting facilities which is an issue to be addressed.” Thanks to Laura Craven, Director of Communications & Marketing at ImperialDade

*Mobile Payments is also another one of the growing trends of 2019. Read more about it here.

Recap: let’s see what will be the most important restaurant trends in 2019:

Restaurant trends in 2019 #1: More customers will choose the restaurants’ delivery services.

Restaurant trends in 2019 #2: The number of ghost kitchens will significantly grow.

Restaurant trends in 2019 #3: Restaurant owners will join their customers in the digitalization era.

Restaurant trends in 2019 #4: Online reviews will significantly impact the growth of a restaurant business.

Restaurant trends in 2019 #5: More customers will enjoy their food off-site.

So stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of the most important restaurant trends in 2019 to propel the growth of your business.


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