The pandemic has led many businesses – including those in the food industry – to close in the past year. However, in early 2021 this trend began to reverse pretty dramatically. As of April 2021, about 500,000 businesses have opened all across the United States. That’s significant, given the situation we were faced with a year prior, when about 60% of firms faced closure.
We can credit the rising number of startups in the food industry to the changing trends in the past few years. Some restaurants, diners, cafes and gastropubs have looked outside the box and tried something more unconventional, farther from what we consider a traditional dining setup.
Below are the trends the food and beverage industry has been heading towards as of late, and you will definitely find these useful if you are planning to start your own.
We can’t deny that one of the things that can bond people is food. For this reason, plenty of restaurants tried to develop their menus into something more adaptive and inclusive for different dietary needs. This movement enables them to welcome more customers, create more growth opportunities, and touch more people with their food offers. It also allowed the chefs to be more creative in inventing menu items for their customers.
CALLING ALL LOCAVORES
The environmental impact of the foods we eat are fast becoming an important factor in buyer choice, a trend accelerated by COVID-19. Research last year in the U.S. found that 65% of people look for products that can help them live a more sustainable and socially responsible life.
Jim Burton, CEO of Boulder Sausage (part of the MBH group of companies) has picked up on the trend.
“We are noticing that consumers are increasingly interested in how their food is sourced and what ingredients are used. As we have used the same natural recipe for our pork for more than 40 years, this is definitely giving us an advantage.”
There’s also a growing awareness of the part transportation and CO2 emissions play in the food industry. Just look at the rise in farmers markets across the States and Europe, and it’s not surprising that many in the food industry are asking why not grow our produce right where we sell it.
QUICKER, FASTER, MORE
One of the most significant changes in the food and beverage industry is the ability to offer fast and efficient service. In previous decades, we all needed to wait around before we could eat. People now have experienced the luxury of quicker and more efficient service, not only in fast food but in any form of restaurant. Faster and more efficient service became a standard for restaurants handling their customers, even on peak seasons.
DIGITAL AND CASH-FREE
Technology has also played a huge part in the changing trend of the food and beverage industry, especially when making reservations with multiple payment options. Though most of the population still carry cash to pay for their transactions, restaurants that add cashless payment options have multiplied. In terms of reservations, social media made it easier for people to book a table. These changes have helped people to feel safer during the pandemic. There will be lesser interaction with other people through online reservations and cashless payments, so there is less risk of contracting COVID-19.
These trends have helped the food and beverages industry to expand and develop. They also allow restaurant owners to become more creative, think outside the box, and offer more variety. If you aspire to own a restaurant in the future, try to think of the above trends and learn how to create an extraordinary experience for your prospective customers.