Top Food Service Trends of 2022

Updated: Oct 26


Looking back on the past three years, the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly altered the landscape of the food service industry. While 2022 was a big turning point for many restaurants following the resumption of business as dining restrictions were relaxed and lifted all over the country, restaurant owners still face many challenges in maintaining their businesses, and simply haven't gone back to the pre Covid situation yet. Other than that, 2022 was a year that brought hope and opportunities to restaurant owners to thrive and grow.


Here are the top 5 food service trends that will dominate the food industry as we move into 2023.


1. Growth of Plant-based food


Although the Plant-based agenda is no longer new to people, having gained mainstream attention in the past few years, the industry is expected to grow exponentially in the next couple years, signifying that plant-based foods are here to stay. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the global plant-based market will grow from US $30 billion in 2021 to a staggering US$160 billion by 2030, comprising up to 7.7% of the global protein market by 2030. This indicates that the plant-based market will continue to grow in popularity and become omnipresent across the food industry.


With the global rise in vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, and a greater emphasis on healthier food choices, restaurants across the industry have taken action by adding new items to their menus in an attempt to offer vegan and plant-based dishes as a staple, rather than a limited option for those following alternative diets. According to the new report, industry giants including Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods and Oatly are driving an increase in plant-based food options by partnering with restaurants and major chains.


In order to keep up with trend #1, here are some essential tips for you to incorporate plant-based food into your restaurant’s menu:

  1. Highlight vegan or vegetarian options on the menu

  2. Create crowd-pleasing plant-based options

  3. Provide plant-based substitutes to meals

  4. Get creative with existing ingredients

  5. Update online and offline menus


2. Increased investment in delivery channels


Another food service trend that will become increasingly prevalent is direct digital ordering channels as restaurants explore delivery options beyond costly third-party partnerships. As reported by Yahoo! Finance, restaurants have had to grapple with high costs associated with delivery service providers, with platforms like Ubereats, Grubhub and Doordash charging commission fees, while Chowhound charges restaurants a flat monthly fee to access its online delivery software. Consumers have also expressed a preference for ordering directly from the restaurant versus a third-party app, which will provide restaurants with further incentive to facilitate their own online ordering channels via technology investment. In the long run, both diners and operators can save money through native channel orders, though restaurants are likely to increase delivery menu prices to make the channel more lucrative as off-premise demand holds steady.


Restaurant owners and operators looking to set up their own delivery channels and stop relying on third party providers can use INFI’s industry-leading POS solution, which can help:

  1. Create a well-polished app for your website that allows customers to place orders directly from the app.

  2. Empower you to access new markets and generate more sales

  3. Enable your restaurant to offer online ordering without signing away a substantial percentage of its profits.


3. Supply Chain and Food Supply


The supply chain problems caused by the pandemic have yet to abate, and will likely continue as inflation and rising food costs place stress on global supply chains. Businesses may have to reduce the items offered on their menus to reflect the scarcity of ingredients amidst economic disruption. Furthermore, a significantly reduced menu will not only introduce labor cost savings, but also allow restaurants to reduce food costs through streamlined inventory management, as well as reduce food waste.


For restaurants owners looking to trim down their menus, here are some useful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Cut out menu items that experience sustained price inflation or shortages

  2. Include a seasonal section that uses ingredients readily available and accessible

  3. Utilize ingredients with multiple applications

  4. Adapting products to various meal parts and dayparts

  5. Craft menu offerings suited to every ordering option: dine-in, drive-thru, takeout and delivery


4. Long live ghost kitchen restaurants


Since the pandemic, ghost kitchens have become one of the most popular food service trends. The concept of the ghost kitchen is fairly simple - a restaurant operates without the dine in experience or direct customer interaction. This new business model has ensured restaurant owners have much lower running costs by using ghost-kitchen POS systems and focusing on takeout services, which eliminates rental and maintenance fees for the dining space, as well as labor costs for service staff. All these benefits have attracted more and more restaurant owners away from the traditional dining model in favor of this new business model.


In order to stand out from your competitors, the main priority for owners is to create a user-friendly website for their restaurant, which will improve brand image by allowing them to craft their own original website that tells their unique story and business origins. Moreover, it will increase search rankings on Google, which will increase online exposure and build customer trust and outreach through testimonials and pictures.


5. Contactless services and Use of Automation


During the pandemic, many restaurants embraced digitization in order to stay in business and connect with their customers. During a time when physical contact was highly discouraged, automating functions such as cashiers, expo, food runners, and hostesses through automated kiosks, mobile ordering, and smart locker system technology not only allowed businesses to eliminate the need for labor but also increase profit margins while increasing customer satisfaction all at the same time. This is especially true as according to RestaurantDive, restaurants will likely invest in labor-saving technology to address labor shortages, make them less reliant on employees, minimize costs and maximize efficiencies.


According to a ”Global State of the Hospitality Industry” report from Lightspeed, 50% of U.S. food service operators plan to adopt automation technology in the next two to three years to fill labor gaps, with 87% of operators, owners, or managers believing that technology adoption has been key to business survival amid the pandemic. Per the report, consumers’ have also expressed a preference for digitization, with 19% of U.S. diners saying they would feel safer at a restaurant if QR codes and digital menus were available, while 20% want self-ordering at the table, and 30% of U.S. consumers saying they expect a contactless payment option.


The digital work models helped many restaurants survive the pandemic while providing numerous benefits that traditional work models couldn’t offer. Adopting the point of sale (POS) software will not only maximize restaurants owners’ benefit by lowering the labor cost, but also ensure the health of customers and improve the overall customer experiences. Maximizing profit and remaining aware of what is trending in the restaurant industry are both critical in planning success for the restaurant.


The digital work models helped many restaurants survive the pandemic while providing numerous benefits that traditional work models couldn’t offer. Adopting the point of sale (POS) software will not only maximize restaurants owners’ benefit by lowering the labor cost, but also ensure the health of customers and improve the overall customer experiences. Maximizing profit and remaining aware of what is trending in the restaurant industry are both critical in planning success for the restaurant.


Conclusion:


Catching and identifying the restaurant industry trends will significantly affect your business models and strategy. Looking forward to future food service trends, technology will only continue to dominate the restaurant industry and eventually become mainstream. If you are considering embracing digitization for your restaurant, now is the perfect time to get started. At INFI, we are committed to helping restaurants of all sizes grow their businesses and improve their customer experience with simple, flexible customer ordering solutions. Whether you are looking for an innovative self-ordering kiosk, or to set up and develop mobile app/website capabilities, you can count on us for all the innovative features you need to boost efficiency, lower costs, and reach new markets.


At INFI, we are proud to partner with fast-casual and quick-service restaurants across the country to help them streamline their restaurant operations, lower labor costs, and improve customer experience. Schedule a demonstration today to learn more about INFI’s self-ordering kiosks for restaurants.


Sources:

https://www.acitydiscount.com/info/Foodservice-Trends-for-2021.407.1.htm

https://modernrestaurantmanagement.com/seven-restaurant-trends-that-will-define-2022/

https://www.global-franchise.com/insight/key-takeaways-from-the-2022-state-of-the-restaurant-industry-report

https://thegoodtill.com/resources/top-5-trends-emerging-in-the-food-service-industry/


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