Restaurant Industry Trends: 6 to Know in 2022

By
Nicole Georgiev
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In 2021, many of the restaurant industry trends were linked to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Now, in 2022, the year is bringing on new opportunities for restaurants to stand out. 

The restaurant industry trends that will define 2022 will be driven by the pressure from the supply chain. This kind of instability will cause operators to cut costs by shortening their menu options and investing in technology that can reduce labor costs and carrying cost. By cutting these costs, there will be extra cash for wage increases. 

Today, consumers’ expectations are more evolved than ever. The pandemic helped people learn how to love their home kitchens. This could have been through their new kitchen gadget investments or by signing up for meal prep and custom subscription boxes to recreate the dining out experience at home.

Restaurants will have to fight hard to get their customers back. One of the ways they’ll be able to do this is by keeping up with the top six restaurant industry trends for 2022. 

Download the link to the restaurant industry eBook

What Is the Restaurant Industry?

The restaurant industry is one part of the consumer marketplace that prepares food and beverages for people to consume on-site. It aims to supply food services in restaurants, bars, cafés, and similar settings. 

Restaurants include standalone restaurants, chain restaurants, fast food restaurants, and formal restaurants. Businesses that allow customers to come in, order food, and dine in are part of the restaurant industry. 

The restaurant industry is also part of the hospitality industry. Hospitality businesses include job titles such as waiters, different types of chefs, inventory control manager, restaurant manager, waiters, bar staff, and customer service personnel. 

Since they operate in the hospitality industry, restaurants often utilize hospitality software. By doing this, they stay on top of daily tasks such as their bar opening and closing checklist and menu engineering

What Are Industry Trends?

Industry trends refer to the patterns that occur within certain industries. These trends relate to cost, wholesale price, DTC marketing, consumer purchasing, manufacturing inventory, sales methods, and similar areas. Trends occur in every industry and provide companies with crucial data that can help them stay competitive in the marketplace. 

It’s common for industry trends to move quickly and change often. This is why an analysis of industry trends can help businesses including manufacturers and retailers. Trend analysis can help businesses understand how consumers purchase products. In turn, they can make informed business decisions regarding the allocation of labor and funds. 

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2022 Restaurant Industry Trends

By watching industry trends, like fresh produce trends, businesses can stay competitive. Below you’ll find some restaurant industry trends for 2022:

Green Kitchens Focusing on Environmental Concerns

In the restaurant industry, trends aren’t always food or service-related. The most recent issue that has led to consumer changes in the food and beverage industry is the environment. This includes plastic waste and pollution. 

Plastic straws, cups, lids, and to-go bags brought up the question of whether these items are necessary. Getting rid of takeaway and disposable items like these isn’t the solution. Instead, it’s to find eco-friendly alternatives. 

This solution is what led to an increase in green kitchens. This is where businesses focus on reducing waste, recycling, and reusing leftovers as much as they can. Due to this, the use of biodegradable wares also became popular. These include paper straws, fiber to-go boxes, and wax paper cups. 

Increased Delivery Options

Delivery is one of the fastest-growing restaurant industry trends in the last two years. Ordering in isn’t just for those lazy nights anymore. In fact, apps such as Caviar can have people enjoying a fine dining experience from the comfort of their homes. 

In 2022, the restaurant industry is expanding further into their own delivery options. Small restaurants and food establishments realized that relying on third-party delivery services isn’t as reasonable as it could’ve been.

Apps like Uber Eats charge upwards of 30% to restaurants for every order. Aside from high fees, third-party delivery services have other issues that are causing restaurants to stray away.

These include a lack of urgency to complete the deliveries and customer service complaints about delivery personnel and drivers. Restaurants are now looking into ways to offer more delivery options that are reliable and customer service-friendly. 

Self-Serve Options and Automation

Some restaurants are introducing pre-made menu items that can be purchased through vending machines or self-serve bars. This is part of their goal to reduce queues and decrease the factory overhead costs. At the same time, they’ll also benefit from the increased demand for ready-made meals.

McDonald’s is an example of a restaurant that has incorporated automation. They did this with their kiosks and self-service drink machines. 

Establishments can get more people in the door by incorporating some of the industry’s latest and greatest technological trends. Then, it’s up to the restaurant and  personnel to encourage the guests  to come back. 

The latest restaurant software can give food establishments that much-needed edge to keep them on top. It’s a way for them to balance the quality of service and food with the constantly changing trends. 

Restaurant tech and software like POS systems can help restaurants reduce costs, make simple menu changes, and control finances. This will maximize profits and it helps when learning how to increase restaurant sales while staying aware of  industry trends in order to be successful. 

Simplified Menus 

In every dining experience, menu variety is something that plays a crucial role. There are different menu types, including restaurant QR code menus, that restaurants make available. A large menu is one way that restaurants try to make something for everyone instead of specializing in a few things and mastering them. 

However, the restaurant industry trends for 2022 show that restaurants are understanding the difficulties that large menu items are creating. Those menus are coming to an end. 

Restaurants with large menus are often associated with low food quality, which impacts a restaurant’s profitability. Short menus reduce the food cost through a simple restaurant inventory management process and decreased food waste. Shortening the menu allows chefs the chance to master menu items and improve the quality of the food. 

Health-Conscious Foods

Over the past couple of years, customers have become increasingly health-conscious. The restaurant industry has also adapted to this trend by catering to their health-conscious consumers through certain dishes. 

The younger generations are more inclined to pay higher prices for healthy meals including those that incorporate buzzwords like organic, GMO-free, and all-natural. Vegan cuisine is also on the rise and something that many restaurants and hotels are catching up to. 

Increased demand for healthy food options means that restaurants will start to add new items to their menus. This will be their way of offering plant-based and vegan dishes as menu staples instead of only meals with traditional ingredients. 

Ghost Kitchens

The ghost kitchen meaning refers to those restaurants that rely heavily on food delivery. It’s a hot trend that will continue into 2022. Ghost kitchens operate out of a kitchen and don’t have a dining space for consumers to eat at. 

This business idea is great for restaurant owners because it means low overhead costs. There is also no need for service staff, and they focus on delivery-only ordering. Their main focus is investing in creating a good website for their restaurant and establishing a strong online presence. 

Some ghost kitchens have evolved to include a small pick-up area for consumers to grab their food on their own. However, most provide direct deliveries or use delivery services.

Download the link to the restaurant industry eBook

Frequently Asked Questions About Restaurant Industry Trends

What Are Restaurant Industry Trends for 2022?

The restaurant industry trends for 2022 are: 

  • Green kitchens focusing on environmental concerns
  • Increased delivery options
  • Self-serve options and automation
  • Simplified menus
  • Health-conscious foods

Is the Restaurant Industry Growing?

Yes, the restaurant industry is growing. In 2022, the restaurant industry is predicted to reach $898 billion in sales. In terms of the workforce, it’s predicted that 400,000 jobs will be added. 

Why Is It Important to Keep Up With Food Trends?

It’s important to keep up with food trends because it helps independent restaurants maintain their customer base while attracting new ones. Guests are always changing their interests and looking for new restaurants to fulfill their needs. By keeping up with food trends, restaurants can adapt to consumer interests to make themselves stand out from the competition. 

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