The Latest Restaurant Industry Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

Restaurant industry trends

Restaurant businesses across the world have been adversely affected, due to the novel Coronavirus. As the global pandemic continues to claim thousands of lives, it is more important than ever for F&B businesses to keep up with the trends that will not only reshape the industry but also fulfill all the customer expectations. This article covers restaurant industry trends that restaurant owners must adopt in 2021 to sustain and strengthen their businesses. 

Trends That Will Reshape The Restaurant Industry in 2021

Even though the restaurant industry has continuously been adapting to the ever-evolving customer behavior and preferences over the past year, its future survivability will depend on service innovation and technology. These factors will primarily help restaurants serve customers faster and better by keeping up with their changing expectations and desires. Mentioned below are some of the top restaurant industry trends to watch out for in 2021. 

1. Off-Premise Dining

As the COVID pandemic raged and lockdowns were enforced, almost every dine-in restaurant was forced to rely on takeaways and delivery sales to stay afloat. In a recent study conducted by Technomic, more than 80 percent of restaurant operators believe that food delivery and takeaways saved their business from closure. 

The off-premise dining trend is likely to continue in the coming years, and restaurateurs must make it easier for customers to place order take-outs and deliveries by streamlining menus and the online ordering process. They can also lookout for ways to drive off-premise sales by offering specials, free or inexpensive delivery, and finding better packaging and go-to meals. 

2. Limited-time Offers And New Menu Offerings

As COVID-19 continues to affect the restaurant industry, surviving the coming years may require a robust measure of creativity. Providing new offerings, limiting menus, and offering unique experiences will help attract diners who may be limiting their dining out budgets. Restaurateurs can also accommodate limited time offers and new menu offerings. 

Plan for menus that are efficient for pick-up and delivery orders. Restaurants all over are also narrowing down their menu options to preserve profits. It is therefore recommended that you re-evaluate your menu based on customer demand. 

increase your restaurant's delivery orders

3. Cloud Kitchens

The emergence of cloud kitchens, also known as ghost kitchens, dark kitchens, virtual restaurants, or delivery-only restaurants, has brought a revolution in the F&B industry. This restaurant model operates exclusively through digital channels for delivery and takeout and typically has no customer-facing component.

The delivery-only business model has offered a viable alternative to those restaurants that have been looking to expand while keeping costs low amidst the ongoing uncertainty. Operating entirely from the back-end brings down the rental and maintenance costs significantly. As the entire focus is shifted towards procuring high-quality ingredients and establishing a top-of-the-line kitchen, cloud kitchen operators have the upper hand in lowering the menu costs while attracting a high volume of online orders. 

New call-to-action4. Contactless Dining

In this contactless dining era, technology has allowed customers to access online menus, thus keeping diners and employees safe. This technology, which doesn’t require downloading an app, has also played an essential role in helping restaurants reopen their operations during this pandemic. 

Web-based or QR code ordering has eliminated the need for servers to have more interaction time with customers, along with minimizing contact with physical menu cards or surfaces. Offering a number of convenient benefits at relatively low cost, contactless dining technology is going to be a ‘must-have’ for restaurants in 2021.

5. Advanced Online Ordering Systems

As restaurants are likely to remain vulnerable to lockdowns and strict sanitary regulations, online food orders and contactless home-deliveries will continue to thrive. Even though third-party food delivery apps will continue to be a key channel for orders, developing their own integrated online platforms and apps will enable the restaurateurs to stay more closely connected with their customers.

Recovering from the slowdown in 2021 will require restaurateurs to reexamine all business aspects and bring significant changes at the strategy as well as operational levels. Identify the restaurant industry trends that are likely to affect your business model, and remember to always adapt your restaurant according to the ever-evolving economic and social landscape!

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Prachi is the Marketing Manager at Restroworks. In her current capacity, she establishes connections with key stakeholders in the F&B industry and serves as the host of The Restaurant Times talk show, "F&B Talks," tailored for the restaurant sector. With hands-on experience in international sales and marketing, Prachi has led initiatives in the LATAM and USA regions, contributing to the platform's global outreach.


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