Before we delve into the trends and predictions of what we believe will be seen in restaurants nationwide to begin this new decade, let us consider how much things have changed in the past decade. In 2010 if you wanted food delivered to your house you were limited to those establishments that offered it themselves. If you wanted a meatless burger you may get laughed out of a Burger King. Thanks to a hospitality-focused technology boom, these factors, among many others, have changed significantly.
In 2020 we expect to see a continuing increase in restaurant technology, while also seeing a focus returning to human connection. Customers are critical to a business, and creating loyal customers is a cornerstone of a successful business. A trend that is continuing to rise in popularity is honoring loyal customers with meaningful rewards. The rewards may different establishment to establishment, but the concept remains consistent; allowing customers to feel valued and maybe even receive something as a reward for their loyalty. Research has repeatedly shown that these programs not only help customer loyalty but increase the likelihood that loyal customers bring new customers in the doors. The need for restaurants to have satisfied customers isn’t going anywhere, which is why we expect this trend to continue growing.
New food and beverage menu items are finding their way into the mainstream too, with a focus on what’s missing instead of what’s included. What does that mean? An emergence of signature cocktails that are free of alcohol, for example. A demand has been noticed for “mocktails” in place of traditional drinks containing alcohol, and mixologists are responding to those requests. Beautiful beverages that would traditionally have contained maybe tequila or vodka are being produced sans-spirits and earning rave reviews. Meatless burgers are making a comeback too, in a big way. Burger King has released a meatless burger, claiming all of the flavor and none of the meat! Both of these developments give a nod to a health-driven lifestyle, helping their staying power. We are betting on a continuing evolution of specialized ingredients and motivation for healthy options.
Enhancing the customer experience is a very common goal among restaurateurs, from the moment the customer enters the threshold until their bill is paid. Pay-at-the-table systems have emerged, serving as a method of expediting bill payment at the end of a meal. Servers are most oftentimes still involved in the process but pay-at-the-table reduces the amount of time it takes a server to process the payment, skipping right over the walk to and from the server station. Customers also feel positive about the security involved, as the credit card they hand the server never leaves their sight. These systems are likely to infiltrate the restaurant scene even further this year and developments will undoubtedly continue to evolve in this customer-focused system.
2020 is the beginning of a new decade and this is certainly only the tip of the iceberg as far as the developments we will see in the restaurant industry in the next 10 years! What unimaginable thing will be commonplace sooner rather than later? Drone delivery service? Stay tuned to find out!
Check out these links to previous blogs we have on some of these topics: