The Restaurant Industry: Everything You Need to Know

June 25, 2024
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The restaurant industry has a deep history. It has evolved significantly over the years based on changes in diners’ tastes and dining culture preferences. Restaurants are places to go for everything from a quick bite to eat to large celebrations. However, not many people are familiar with the specifics of the industry. 

The restaurant industry is part of the hospitality industry and is comprised of restaurants, bars, and other food service establishments. These businesses allow customers to go in, order their food, and eat on-site. 

This guide will provide you with all the information you need to understand the restaurant industry as a restaurant owner. We’ll dive into restaurant technologies, restaurant tech benefits, QR code menus, and food and beverage trends for 2022. 

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What Is the Restaurant Industry

The restaurant industry is a part of the different marketplaces in the food service industry that prepare and serves food and beverages for people to consume either on-site or through curbside services. It includes establishments that supply food services in restaurants, bars, and cafes.

Most restaurants will employ a restaurant manager, wait staff, bar staff, servers, different types of chefs, inventory control manager, and customer service personnel. These positions are essential for every restaurant so that the business runs smoothly and efficiently. 

As part of the hospitality industry, restaurants tend to take advantage of hospitality software. This is how they manage to complete top daily tasks such as menu engineering and their bar opening and closing checklist

Restaurant Technology

Restaurant technology is often used in the restaurant industry to help streamline operations and also improve the customer experience. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many economies began to recover and that’s when restaurant tech became a crucial aspect of gaining new business and repeat customers. 

Restaurant industry trends now play a vital role in business. With technology constantly improving and customer demands evolving, new technology offers solutions to unique problems that arise. Adapting to these technology trends is essential to keep up with the demand. 

Let’s dive deeper into what restaurant technology really is.

What Is Restaurant Technology?

Restaurant technology is the equipment and tools that restaurants, cafes, and bars use on a regular basis. This kind of technology helps businesses be more efficient while also improving customer service.

One of the top priorities for a restaurant business is to improve the guest experience. Keeping up with restaurant technology trends is a way to do this. 

Benefits of Technology in Restaurants

These days, customers expect many aspects of their lives to be enhanced by technology. This also applies to the restaurant industry. Customers desire to have the convenience of modern technology integrated with traditional dining hospitality and as a part of the restaurant. 

Some benefits of technology in restaurants include: 

Better Customer Experience

With restaurant inventory management systems, restaurants can keep track of the ingredients that are required for their menus. With proper stock levels, diners don’t have to worry about finding out that their desired dish isn’t on the menu. 

Restaurant inventory software can ensure a top-notch dining experience for the guests and a solid operating process for the staff. These tools can also keep track of dietary differences so that they’re recorded properly for the guests. 

More Sustainability

With consumers more health-conscious nowadays, restaurants are starting to look into ways to make their establishments sustainable. One way to do that is with restaurant technology. This can be done by using energy-star-rated refrigerators and other energy-efficient equipment that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. 

Higher Employee Satisfaction

Workforce management software can allow restaurants to make wise staffing decisions. This can boost morale and employee satisfaction. Similar software can be used for scheduling and streamlining communication between employees. 

More Efficient Restaurant Operations

Restaurants can have a streamlined and organized process with kitchen automation software. Using a bar POS system helps to ensure an efficient food and drink ordering process while also reducing waste. 

Similar software also helps reduce confusion between the front and back of house staff. Communication will be improved and so will standard order process functions. 

Increased Restaurant Profit Margin

Tech-enabled tables allow diners to place orders from their table which can help boost revenue. They’re ideal to have during busy or peak hours, and they provide quick service. 

Restaurant Technology Trends in 2022

In 2022, restaurant tech is all about improving the customer experience. This can be done through ordering, food preparation, and delivery route optimization

With more tech innovations on the horizon, restaurants should prepare to adopt them to ensure a solid customer experience. Keeping up with the latest technology trends in the restaurant industry is crucial in this aspect. 

Here are some restaurant technology trends for 2022:

Automated Inventory Management Software

Inventory management is the process of tracking food and beverage inventory stock, predicting quantities, and scheduling orders. Automating this process can make it less time-consuming and tedious. 

Using inventory management software will help improve order accuracy and reduce food waste. It allows for more control over the items that are in stock. Point of sale (POS) systems (see bar POS) and cloud enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems (see ERP meaning) are ideal tools to use to track inventory in real-time. In this case, it's also ideal to understand the benefits of ERP.

Contactless Payment and Ordering

Placing orders online is becoming more and more common in the restaurant industry. It’s a kind of contactless technology that is utilized on a regular basis along with contactless payments. These payments include paying using an app, smartphone, smartwatch, or another touchless device.

This trend can be seen in fast-food, fine dining, and casual dining restaurants. Contactless ordering has proven to speed up the ordering process and reduce queue times. 

Ghost Kitchens

The ghost kitchen meaning involves restaurants that strictly offer delivery or carryout options as opposed to dine-in. It’s common for ghost kitchens to offer various menu types, have low overhead costs, and a lot of growth potential. 

An extension of a restaurant that already exists is known as a virtual restaurant or kitchen. It’s similar to a ghost kitchen in that it offers carryout and delivery options. 

QR Codes

QR code-based ordering or a QR code menu is a convenient way for restaurants to incorporate trending technology. There are quite a few benefits of using QR codes including that they offer quick payment methods for customers. 

A custom QR code can be used instead of a single use menu. Customers can use this code to access an online menu, order their food, and pay without contact. 

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QR Codes in Restaurants

QR codes offer solutions for businesses in the hospitality industry like restaurants and bars. They’re simple to use and offer quick ways for customers to order and pay. Let’s dive in deeper to understand what these codes are and how they can help restaurants. 

What Is a QR Code?

The QR code is a barcode alternative that was originally invented by the Japanese company Denso Wave to track auto parts during the manufacturing process. “QR” is the abbreviation for “quick response.” 

Barcodes, similar to the UPC barcode, are used to scan items at stores and to track shipments. These codes can only be read vertically. QR codes can be read vertically and horizontally. This allows information to be transmitted in numerous ways. 

What Is a Restaurant QR Code Menu?

A restaurant QR code menu is an alternative to a single-use menu and can be used by diners by scanning the code using their smartphone camera. The square code is similar to that of a standard UPC or SKU number barcode. 

Once the code is scanned with a smartphone, diners will be taken to a website where they can see the menu. Some restaurants will further enhance the dining experience by allowing diners to place their orders on their website for a fully contactless ordering experience. 

Benefits of Using a Restaurant QR Code

Adapting to change isn’t always easy, especially in the restaurant industry. However, it can be beneficial to do so as it can increase profits and ensure long-term success. Implementing restaurant QR codes is a great way to start. 

Here are some benefits of using a restaurant QR code: 

No Menu Sharing

QR codes will get rid of the common point of contact–the menu. Less menu sharing limits the spread of communicable diseases. Individuals can scan the QR code on the table and get access to the menu on their own. 

Possibility Order Value Increases

When ordering virtually, consumers often spend more time choosing the items they want. This provides a crucial opportunity for restaurants to increase the average order value. It’s important to understand the upselling meaning here as it’s a useful marketing tactic. 

Customers won’t feel the need to make up their minds and order quickly. They also won’t be as hesitant to order additional items when they order online. 

Easily Update Menus

Many restaurants will make frequent menu changes. This can be tough to do with physical menus. However, with a virtual menu, restaurants can customize their menus, add featured items, and add or remove unpopular items as often as they’d like. 

Add Food Images

Images can entice consumers to buy something, especially when it comes to food. Adding images to virtual menus is easier than incorporating them into physical menus. These images will catch consumers’ attention and potentially entice them to order it.

Restaurant Industry Trends

The trends in the restaurant industry are always changing and with the COVID-19 pandemic, things really took a turn. People started prioritizing convenience.

One of the ways they did that was by signing up for different subscription boxes including coffee bean subscription kits, a meat subscription box, a produce subscription box, and other custom subscription boxes

2022 restaurant industry trends are driven by the pressure in the supply chain. Operators are cutting costs by reducing their menu options and incorporating technology that can reduce labor and carrying cost. This is resulting in extra cash that can be allocated toward wage increases. 

2022 Restaurant Industry Trends

Following industry trends, like fresh produce trends,  allows businesses to stay competitive. 

Below are some restaurant industry trends for 2022:

Increased Delivery Options

Ordering in is more common nowadays, and it’s not just for those lazy nights. People can enjoy a fine dining experience at home by ordering through apps like Caviar. Some small restaurants rely on third-party delivery services or their own delivery drivers to complete online orders and get restaurant supplies

Self-Serve Options and Automation

Restaurants are always looking for ways to get more people in through the door. One way they’ve managed to do that in 2022 is with self-serve kiosks. These kiosks offer quick and simple ordering, decreased overhead costs, and shorter queues. 

Simplified Menus 

Menu variety is a crucial part of the dining experience. However, large menus are a thing of the past. Nowadays, restaurants are shortening their menus and focusing on specific items, so they can master them. 

Shorter and simplified menus can reduce food cost and waste with inventory management practices. It also allows chefs to improve the quality of the food by giving them the opportunity to perfect it. 

Health-Conscious Foods

With increasingly health-conscious diners, restaurants have begun to adapt to this consumer market. This includes offering meals that are organic, all-natural, and GMO-free. Vegan and plant-based options are also popular in the restaurant industry in 2022. 

Food and Beverage Industry Trends

When it comes to predicting trends, demand planning and inventory forecasting can come in handy. That’s what many experts do in the restaurant industry with the up-and-coming food and beverage trends. 

Some food trends become trendy by accident while others have solid reasoning behind them as to why they’re popular. TikTok food trends caused quite the buzz in 2021 and this can also be something to look into for 2022. 

What are Food Trends?

Food trends are consumer behavior shifts in regards to particular foods or meals. These trends can be local, regional, or national and be around for a short period of time or years. 

Restaurants that follow the latest food trends can have an advantage when it comes to customer attraction, customer satisfaction, and customer retention. In 2022, diners are increasingly conscious of food safety, quality, and their food sources, so it’s important to know what they’re into. 

What Are the Food Trends for 2022?

When a customer sits down at a restaurant and opens a menu, they want to see meals that coincide with the current trends. To ensure a solid customer experience, it’s important to know the 2022 food industry trends. 

Here are four leading food trends for 2022: 

Immunity Boosters

With the COVID-19 pandemic still fresh on our minds, consumers are paying more attention to their immunity. It has caused foods with immune-boosting compounds to be trendy.

Diners are into functional foods that have extra health benefits along with the essential great taste. Functional foods include natural yogurt, almonds, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, ginger, citrus fruits, and blueberries. 

Plant-Based Foods

The restaurant industry has begun to increase its offerings of plant-based meat products over the years. These days, things aren’t slowing down. The steady increase in plant-based food consumption started back in 2021 and predictions show it will continue strong through 2022. 


Vegetables are becoming the star of the show instead of sticking to the side of the plate. Chefs are starting to embrace vegetables thanks to consumer demand. In a health-conscious world, it’s only right for vegetables to dominate the food industry. 

Spicy Foods

In 2022, it’s all about spicy foods. These include spicy soups, grilled shrimp, sausages, chicken, and meatballs. Adding spices to the menu can be as easy as adding a sauce. Some restaurants are embracing this trend and playing with flavors as a way to be creative. 

What Is the Beverage Industry?

The beverage industry manufactures drinks and ready-to-drink (RTD) products such as bottled water, soft drinks, coffee, energy drinks, different types of alcohol, nutritional beverages, and dairy products. 

Along with food trends, there are also beverage trends that restaurants and bars should look out for. These can be as simple as water options or more complex, like hybrid beverages. 

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Beverage Industry Trends for 2022

The beverage industry is growing rapidly, and it’s common to see new trends. If you’re looking into how to increase restaurant sales, these beverage trends can help. 

Here are some beverage industry trends for 2022: 

Functional Waters

Consumers are starting to stray away from sugary drinks. They’re turning to functional waters which include still, sparking, and herb-infused water. These waters will often have additives such as vitamins, minerals, acids, fruits, herbs, and vegetables. 

Innovative Alcohol Flavors and Mocktails

RTD or ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages are convenient and the variety of flavors makes them even more appealing to consumers. Common flavors include berries, citrus fruits, tropical fruits, and apples. 

Many RTD beverages have low alcohol content or none at all. This is a big driving factor as to why it’s a beverage industry trend. Some consumers are interested in enjoying the taste of a mixed drink without having to actually consume alcohol. 

Hybrid Beverages

A hybrid is a mix between two or more things. In the beverage industry, a hybrid drink is one that has the top qualities of existing drinks in one. Popular hybrid beverages include energy drinks with electrolytes that can improve hydration instead of standard energy drinks that have other stimulants. 

Various Coffee Formats

Ready-to-drink coffee and tea are booming in the beverage industry for 2022. Various coffee formats are continuously being introduced to the market, like from the best coffee roasters.

Some include low-sugar or sugar-free alternatives to existing products. They’re also sold in on-the-go containers such as bottles and cans. 

Plant-Based and Dairy-Free Alternatives

Plant-based and dairy-free milk options, like almond milk and oat milk, have become increasingly popular. 2022 has introduced new dairy-free milk options like potato milk.

Potatoes are efficient to grow and have a low carbon footprint which makes them an excellent choice. Other options include cashew, hemp, banana, and coconut milk. 

Sugar Reduction

Consumers are reducing their sugar intake and beverage companies are noticing. Many companies have started to adapt to this trend by producing no-sugar or reduced-sugar options for their existing products. These include Dr. Pepper Zero Sugar and Monster Energy Zero. 

CBD Beverages

CBD is an ingredient to watch in the beverage industry, even though the Federal Drug Administration hasn’t approved the use of CBD in beverages that are sold through interstate commerce. 

Verywell Sparkling Waters are produced by beverage company Molson Coors, and they contain hemp-derived CBD. These are only available in Colorado, but it’s something the beverage industry should keep an eye on. 

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