The coming year is expected to bring about a number of trends in the food service industry, especially restaurant trends – some completely new and some that will simply add a twist to the old favorites. Changing consumer behavior and the evolution of technology primarily influence the upcoming trends.
Let us discuss a few restaurant trends that are likely to create a space for themselves in 2017
1. Food Trends
Food and drinks are not only limited to mere consumption for fulfillment, but there is also an ever-growing obsession with food and drinks. While the entire foodservice market is expected to further grow in 2017, it would not be surprising to witness a change in the dining habits and food choices of diners, which in turn will also change the ways restaurants operate. Some popular food trends that are expected to come up are-
Whole Foods- While millennials often give preference to eating out rather than eating in, they are also parallelly more health conscious. The definition of ‘healthy’ food has now shifted to fresh, unprocessed and whole foods. Whole grains are preferred over refined wheat, sugar is being replaced with honey or jaggery and fresh fruits and vegetable is attracting many healthy foodies.
Extreme Indulgence- Though millennials are growing conscious of their dietary habits, they also like to unwind and enjoy once every while! Most people are in search for the most sinful and lip-smacking delicacies that are often very rich, gourmet and appetizing to the palate.
Baked Foods- Fried foods are no longer a craze among the millennials. In fact, ‘deep fried’ options in menus are now replaced with ‘stir fried’ to attract the health concerned population. You can include baked items instead of the fried ones, that are as appealing, crispier and delicious as the less-preferred fried food items.
Protein- The love for non-vegetarian food is taking a hike with increased focus on the importance of protein, making a lot of diners fond of protein rich foods. Hence, protein rich meals, especially chicken, and sea-foods are surely going to be the flavor of the year.
- Barbecue- Barbecues have now shifted inside roofs of restaurants. People prefer and love eating the less oily grilled food! The flavor, social cachet, and fun barbecue dining provides will get greater love in 2017.
There cannot be enough said about how the technology is changing the face of the restaurant industry. With cloud technology completely automating restaurant management such as billing, stock management, kitchen management etc, restaurants are no longer the manual labor-centric place that they used to be. The advent of online ordering, table reservation, advanced CRM software has left little space for manual intervention.
Restaurant marketing is also trending, and with the increasingly competitive nature of the restaurant business, marketing is a necessity for a restaurant to thrive. Technology has also made it possible to reduce table turnover and increase sales which is one of the most sought after requirements for the restaurant business.
Technology has positively revolutionized the way traditional restaurants function and resulted in higher revenues and profit margins for restaurants that have incorporated such a technological toolbox.
We expect the year ahead to see the cloud-based technological innovations to penetrate further into the restaurant industry, especially in the unorganized space.
3. Cloud Kitchens
With the restaurant margins becoming thinner due to the rising operational costs of restaurants, Cloud Kitchens seem to be a smarter route to success in the restaurant business. Also, with our subtle transition towards a ‘cashless economy’, online ordering will see a surge steadier than ever. While food deliveries will continue to gain attention, takeaways are likely to emerge as the top preference. Thus, Cloud Kitchens seem to be the natural recourse for restaurateurs, especially for new and inexperienced restaurant owners.
4. QSR Segment
The year 2016 saw an overall slump in the QSR business, with major fast food chains such as Domino’s reporting a slowdown. However, this slowdown has been accounted primarily for the rising number of new players entering the business. A number of new QSR and chains such as Wow! Momos, Faasos etc have come up in the Indian fast food space, that are competing for the market share.
With the increasing urbanization and need of food on the go, QSR has become the most sought after option by both diners and restaurateurs. The QSR segment has an edge over other restaurant formats owing to its price. In fact, you can also start a QSR under Rs 5 Lakhs. It is expected that 2017 will see more growth for the small QSR players as well.
5. Food Truck
With low investments and minimal risks involved, Food Trucks are becoming a trending rage. While Food Trucks can also be considered as a part of the QSR segment, what makes Food Truck an ideal choice is its mobility feature. The availability of food on wheels is a distinctively attractive feature for customers, as most Food Trucks also promise gourmet food at affordable prices. Food Trucks offer more scope for experimentation in terms of food. With low investments and minimal risks involved, Food Trucks are fast becoming the popular choice for owning a restaurant business, especially for first-time restaurateurs.
Also Read: A Step by Step Guide to Start Your Own Food Truck Business
6. Theme- Based
Theme oriented restaurants are ones where the concept of a restaurant is given most of the priority. Of course, food, service, and location are not to be ignored, but the concept is what is designed to attract customers the most.
Theme based foods have made way for themselves in the recent years, and now will be the time where more and more theme-based restaurants will pop-up and some restaurants will reinvent their restaurant’s concept. As restaurants aim towards long-term branding, incorporating a theme has become commonplace to attract the audience.
7. Food Festivals
Food festivals have to be one of the best forms of offline (field) marketing. Food festivals are not restricted to a particular section of the society but host people of all ages and social classes. This provides an incredible opportunity to market restaurants, especially the upcoming ones, as they include the basic promotional activities, and also give learning opportunities to the new brands as they observe how the well-established brands serve their customers.
Some of the country’s most famous food festivals like Grub Fest, Sula Fest, and Indian Street Food Festivals have thousands of visitors and give smaller establishments and food start-ups to reach out to all the foodies which are likely to be their potential customers.
The never-ending growth and success of the food and service industry does not limit its constant progress and continuous developments with the changing demographics. The restaurant industry has to be constantly equipped with the latest food and dining trends and etiquettes of the diners, as well as the tips and techniques of the restaurant industry to thrive in this highly competitive industry. With updated trends, restaurants are able to retain customers and intrigue new customers.