Trends in the Restaurant Industry
Media-savvy consumers have become aware of how food sourcing affects our macro and micro-environments. As a result, recent years have seen the expansion of menu items created from sustainable crops with local farm-to-table sourcing. Furthermore, with genetically-engineered foods making it to America’s collective tables, consumers will continue to seek menu alternatives such as grass-fed beef and chicken free of antibiotics and hormones.
Restaurants are looking for ways to promote conversation and social interaction between and among customers and potential customers (as opposed to having tables full of diners with their heads down scrolling through email). It is all about creating an “experience.” As a result, 2019 will see chefs creating more shared dishes with different sauces and toppings that will stimulate table-talk. Roving photographers will take candid shots and immediately load the pics to the social media platform of your choice as a way for you to remember the great time your group of friends had at dinner and to encourage other friends and colleagues to drop in for dessert in real time. Expect to see magicians and live musical acts that enhance the going-out-to-dinner fun.
High Protein Meals
Expect to see more high-protein offerings on menus for the keto-paleo crowd (beef, sea-food, and chicken). Also, in 2019, diners will see tasty new non-meat, meats. Think plant-based proteins, like soy-based veggie burgers and pork rinds without pork to attract vegan consumers.
In 2019, restaurants will be enhancing their branding and marketing by compiling targeted Spotify and Apple Music playlists for customers to download so they can get a feel for the restaurant’s atmosphere and mood. Restaurants hope customers will enjoy those memories long after their dining experience has ended, and that the music tracks will make customers want to return.
Restaurants will expand health-conscious offerings that do not skimp on taste as American consumers’ interest in maintaining a healthy diet continues to grow. Look for kale, kale, and more kale dishes on the way and 2019 will see more small plate offerings, and new types of fish on the menu.
Focus on Dining-Out
American consumers will continue to focus on dining out, whether through take-out from traditional restaurants or by using pre-packed meal services. These offerings will feature more environmentally efficient packaging in response to consumer demand. Look for straws manufactured out of more eco-friendly materials.
Flexible High-End Fast Food
Expect to see more high-end restaurants in small footprint, fast, casual environments. These cross-over, casual food offerings are reminiscent of mall food courts, but, instead of Chick-fil-A and McDonalds, these stand-up and/or super casual restaurants offer bars serving trendy craft cocktails, gourmet chef-created finger foods, sushi, more sharing and snacking dishes, gourmet burgers, and clarified cocktails created in centrifuges and distilled through filtering papers.
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(image courtesy of Jay Wennington)