From zero-waste cooking to drone-powered delivery, new trends in the restaurant industry seem to emerge overnight. In any industry, you don’t need to jump to switch up your business model every time you read about a new fad, but it’s helpful to stay informed on consumer and technological trends. If you’re a restaurateur, staying in-the-know is crucial to giving your restaurant the cutting edge it deserves.
But don’t panic just yet. We’re outlining the biggest trends to hit restaurants in 2019, as reported by the National Restaurant Association, so you can understand exactly what you’re up against—and stay ahead of the curve.
The Restaurant Landscape is as Competitive as Ever
With industry sales projected to climb to $863 billion in 2019, the restaurant industry shows no signs of slowing down. While operators are “generally optimistic about business conditions,” it’s likely there won’t be a descent in competitive pressures this year, the report states. Further, as federal and state legislation shifts, and labor costs rise, it’s likely that pressure on business performance and bottom line will only increase. Learn how you can give your restaurant a leg up in the competitive market.
Industry Demand is High
With higher-income households representing a larger share of households than ever before, consumers are turning to restaurants to spend their disposable income. Thanks to the expanding economy and positive consumer sentiment, the restaurant industry is “expected to register positive sales growth in 2019.” With consumer confidence strong, successful restaurant operators can still increase their traffic, despite the competitive environment.
Staff Recruitment and Retainment Are Top Priorities
Despite the fact that total restaurant and foodservice employment is projected to top 15 million in 2019, there’s still scarcity within the industry workforce. Staffing remains a top challenge—particularly in the back-of-house. The report notes that more than a third of operators have job openings that are difficult to fill, as the industry continues to be “impacted by longer-term structural changes in the labor force.” The good news is, business sentiment is positive, meaning more people are likely to be interested in joining the restaurant workforce. Consider a recruiting and hiring tool to help you stay organized and hire the right people.
Tech Innovations Continue to Shape the Restaurant Industry
Like many other sectors, technology is disrupting and shifting the restaurant industry more than ever. In today’s era of instantism, consumers are demanding instant gratification more and more, forcing restaurateurs to think about how they are connecting with their customers. The report states that consumers would most like to see restaurants incorporate technology that concentrates on “improving customer service, making ordering and payment easier, and offering more convenient takeout and delivery options.” For most operators, continuing to incorporate technology that facilitates easier user experiences will be essential in 2019.
Food Preferences Continue to Evolve
Consumer desires in the dining spectrum are paralleling with larger societal trends. Similar to other industries, consumers are calling for restaurants to bring more eco-friendly options, with a greater emphasis on globalizing menus. Overall, consumers would like to see more healthful items and new food sourcing options. The majority of consumers say the options for healthier, eco-friendly choices factors directly into their choice of restaurant.
Curious what the food trends are this year? Check out the National Restaurant Association Show Culinary report here. Are you headed to the 100th National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago? Schedule a time to talk with us about how we can help keep your restaurant ahead.