by Natasha Reta – Culinary Consultant
2020 accelerated new restaurant and dining trends that may not be going away anytime soon. With staff shortages and commodities increases, operators will get creative this Fall and embrace these new and continuing trends born out of the restaurateur’s resiliency and commitment to this business.
Some innovative 2020 trends to embrace and elevate for Fall:
- It’s not hard to find food for delivery nowadays, which makes the competition even harder. Before the pandemic, 80% of full-service restaurant traffic was on-premise. We quickly adjusted our dining habits, and now off-premise sales replace that 80% and anticipate it increasing in the future. Now is the time to review your options and develop strategies to enhance your delivery and take-out offerings.
- Try ordering online from your website or third-party delivery. Assess the platform from the guest’s perspective:
- How user-friendly is it?
- Does it take a long time to load or search?
- Are all your menu modifications and correct menu specifications notated?
- Is the pricing accurate?
- How long did it take to receive your order?
- How did it arrive? Was it at an accurate temperature? Presentation?
- Don’t forget to review your take-out packaging. Companies are getting creative with eco-friendly, recyclable, and compostable take-out packaging. The type of packaging you use can significantly enhance the guest experience.
Reduced and Streamlined Menus
- We are and will continue to see smaller menus. Staff shortages, increasing commodities costs and difficult sourcing make for three important reasons why NOW is the best time to review, reengineer and reduce your menu. Streamline your BOH prep processes, and cross utilize inventory to reduce waste. An onion is only an onion until you think – julienne, diced, caramelized, pickled, grilled, sautéed, smoked, roasted, pureed – just to name a few.
Beverages To Go – We’re Talking Alcohol
- States have loosened restrictions on off-premise alcohol sales, and it’s been going well. A third of off-premise customers surveyed said they had ordered alcohol to go since the pandemic, and they plan to do so in the future so long as it is permitted.
- Don’t have a license to sell? Try the new “mocktail” craze. Utilize in-house ingredients to make mocktails, agua frescas, or even juice bases. Someone wants it boozy? Consider teaming with your local community market, where a juice purchase gets you a discount on alcohol. (21+ only)
- The holidays are around the corner; enhance your beverages with a festive holiday twist.
- Consumers are dining in more; that’s a fact. But they grow tiresome of stale delivery boxes and lukewarm food. Meal kits have grown in popularity for consumers who want a “hands on cooking experience” with measured guidance.
- Design holiday meal kits for the guest who wants to bring the restaurant experience home.
Monthly Meal Subscriptions
- Of consumers surveyed, more than half of them said they would sign up for a monthly delivery or pickup option from their favorite place if offered.
- Customers sign up to get meals delivered monthly at a discounted price. Your subscription can offer a rotating menu, including meal kits and even cocktails. It ensures monthly sales and guest retention.
One thing is sure, restaurant trends and consumer’s expectations are ever-changing. With some creativity and an ongoing commitment to examining your current offerings and improving and enhancing where needed, your operation will be better aligned and prepared for the days ahead.