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Restaurant Trends for 2021

The pandemic has been hard on the entire restaurant industry across the world. In spite of that, the adoption of technology has kept some of them to sustain while many others have shut their doors.

Sadly, technology adoption has been quite slow in restaurant businesses compared to other sectors. However, the current situation has forced them to adapt to the latest trends in the food industry in order to survive.

Restaurants are trying hard to meet the unique requirements and interests of their customers to keep themselves running. With the change in the consumers buying trends and behaviors this year, such as choosing contactless deliveries, cashless payments, and maintaining social distancing, 2021 will bring in new opportunities.

Starting from marketing strategies, the internal systems to the aesthetics, restaurants, and food chains are expected to grow in the upcoming year, mainly in terms of technology. The following top restaurant trends for 2021 should enable you to make your management and financial decisions better.

1. Health Consciousness

The pandemic has made everyone much more health-conscious than ever before. Besides, it is mandatory to take all precautionary measures while stepping out, which is why customers prefer to visit those eateries that are following these measures well.

Additionally, customers are also worried about their gut health since nutritionists are emphasizing the importance of consuming probiotics and good bacteria to keep our digestive system healthy.

Also, some people look for strictly gluten food intake. This is why some restaurants found it mandatory to add fermented dishes and gluten-free alternatives to cater to their customers’ unique needs.

2. Specialty Restaurants

Restaurants offering specialty dishes and unique themes, especially for the modern generation, receive more attention, and hence more traffic. Besides, foodies always look for a place that provides them with the right customized dining experience.

The best practice would be to find your niche and use themed menus, in which you can integrate one specific ingredient into each of your dishes. Or you can have a particular item that’s special to your theme or restaurant, and make sure to promote that item. You will be surprised to see how customers flock to your place just to savor that specific dish!

If you're ever lucky enough to be in Auckland, New Zealand make sure to check out this extensive list of best restaurants.

3. Social Media

Every restaurant should expand its business to serve modern-day customers and their rapidly changing needs. It’s important that food chains leverage the power of social media to get the maximum exposure of their business, that too in the most cost-effective manner.

Starting from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter to LinkedIn, restaurants should not be afraid to take full advantage of each platform and reach out to their visitors as far as possible. Because your potential buyers will love to share pictures of your gorgeous-looking foods and beverages, or even your unique restaurant concepts and interiors.

In fact, a large part of today’s customers and youth love to dine in at a place that has an aesthetic and/or modern decor and design.

4. Online Table Bookings, Ordering, and Delivery

After the pandemic outbreak, this year has seen a drastic rise in the online ordering and delivery trend to prevent the spread of the virus. You should work on enriching dine-in experiences and cater to your digital customers specifically, who prefer ordering online through third-party apps like Doordash, UberEats, etc.

Moreover, also make sure that your pick-up and delivery partners are offering contactless and cashless delivery options, the two most sought after services in online food ordering systems.

Similarly, since some restaurants have limited indoor seating, a majority of the consumers look for online table reservation solutions to avoid waiting in a long queue with a growing hunger pang! And it enables them to avoid speaking to anyone to look for a table.

This system also allows restaurants to control the huge gathering crowd, especially during the COVID-19 era, when social distancing guidelines need to be maintained.

5. Simple Menus

Every restaurant must aim to simplify its menu to enhance product quality, operational efficiency, order time, and hence, customer satisfaction. Besides, having a simple menu enables your guests to make their choices faster, and hence, place the order right away!

This is why several food chain operators have reduced their menus by eliminating the non-essential dishes or items, thus streamlining their ordering system. Besides, it also reduces inventory and labor costs, and boosts serving time. Being the owner, however, ensure that you carefully consider the value and profitability of each dish before eliminating it.

6. Meat Alternatives

Your consumers have diverse food choices and preferences and follow different diets, such as non-vegetarian, vegetarian, and vegan, with the latter two becoming extremely popular. Today, major fast-food chains are offering these options to cater to a vast scale audience.

For example, you can substitute animal meat with plant-based meat, which is made of soy protein, pea protein isolate, rice protein, and others. Food operators like Burger King are also replacing their beet patties with plant-based beef in their burgers.

Similarly, other restaurants like Chipotle, are offering vegan menu items and are including tofu with customizable bowls, thus eliminating animal by-products. You must keep options for these food items so that customers with different diets and tastes can still visit your place, without having limited choices.

7. Ghost Kitchens

Ghost kitchens, also known as virtual kitchens, are designed only to process order requests and deliver their dishes. Hence, these kitchens eliminate the option of dining in unlike a traditional brick-and-mortar restaurant. This enables them to save big on rental costs, menu innovation, and other expenses associated with restaurant hospitality.

Moreover, labor costs will also reduce, as there will be no waiters or serving teams. Besides, many of these ghost kitchens rely on third-party food delivery apps, including UberEats, Grubhub, DoorDash, etc., to serve their consumers, and also have in-house drivers. Also, the kitchen spaces are mostly rented, thus saving costs on real estate.


Living in a competitive era, you must monitor all the recent trends in your industry and consider streamlining your marketing plan accordingly. This way, you can efficiently meet your food lovers’ evolving interests and needs, thereby increasing the flexibility of providing them with more customized services.

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