Four trends to appeal to diners based on specific dietary and lifestyle needs are expected throughout 2020 for the US restaurant industry. According to market intelligence agency Mintel, these are:
- With more options for buying food and drink than ever, restaurants are increasingly becoming social gathering places, in addition to a place to eat. To remain competitive, restaurants will need to adapt their operations to different formats to stay relevant to today’s diners and keep them coming back for more.
- Despite the growing popularity of plant-based meat, consumers will begin to question the healthfulness, processing, and long ingredient lists of these alternatives, affecting their long-term growth. However, restaurants will continue to offer natural plant-based ingredients which appeal to a wider consumer base and create their own plant-based prototypes
- As consumers become increasingly “canna-curious,” opportunities will arise to target cannabis occasions through co-branding, marketing strategies, or menu items. Despite the unresolved regulatory and legal issues, operators have begun to leverage growing awareness and interest in cannabis through menu items that have wellness and relaxation benefits.
- Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are taking customization to the next level, personalizing the dining experience by predicting diners’ needs and desires, while improving the overall restaurant experience. While it can increase check averages, it also will need to be balanced against “the human touch of hospitality.”