The past couple of years have been rocky for the restaurant industry, with COVID-19 and inflation having major impacts. Here are some key statistics and takeaways from the industry heading into 2024:
Despite some of these obstacles, looking forward promises some excitement. Inflation seems to be cooling, and in the coming year, we can expect to see owners leveraging technology and sustainable practices to achieve growth and innovation. Check out some of these stats and facts:
- The restaurant and accommodation industry’s quit rate has fallen from 5.3% in July 2022 to 3.9% in July 2023.
- Fast casual dining is thriving, possibly due to the ease provided by mobile ordering.
- Around 34% of Americans eat out at casual dining restaurants at least once a week.
- Pop-up establishments have experienced a 105% growth from April 2021 to March 2022 vs. the same period from the previous year.
- In September 2023, the restaurant industry received a performance index score of 100.4, indicating a period of expansion.
Below, we’ll take a look at the latest trends expected to emerge in 2024 so you can draw customers through your doors and keep them engaged. As a smart operator, don’t fall behind this year. Read the following article to stay ahead of restaurant trends.
Food-Related Restaurant Trends in 2024
You can’t have a restaurant without food, so here are a few restaurant industry trends to look out for in 2024:
- Plant-based meals: Many restaurants are incorporating more plant-based meals on their menus to appeal to environmentally conscious consumers. From meat alternatives like tofu and tempeh to dairy replacements like oat milk and soy milk, restaurants offering innovative plant-based menu items can appeal to more customers.
- Obscure ingredients: Mant restaurant visitors are becoming more adventurous, leading eateries to seek out unique ingredients like ox tongue to differentiate themselves.
- Solo dining: Many restaurant operators expect to see more solo diners in 2024 and are planning to offer seating that accommodates people enjoying their own company.
- Small plates: Restaurants are no strangers to the small plate trend, and it’s here to stay in 2024! Visitors who want to try a little bit of everything or share food with friends are big fans of this trend.
Beverage Trends to Expect in 2024
Innovative cocktails, sustainable packaging, and functional drinks are some of the top bar trends for 2024. Explore some more below:
- Sober curious: A growing number of people are embracing a low-alcohol or alcohol-free lifestyle, and restaurants can appeal to them by crafting virgin cocktails and flavorful low-alcohol cocktails.
- CBD-infused drinks: Beverages infused with CBD are gaining popularity because of their purported health benefits, such as relieving stress and aiding in relaxation. Bars or coffee shops may add CBD as a featured ingredient in beverages like coffee and cocktails.
- Sustainably packaged drinks: The growing emphasis on sustainability means more beverage companies are likely to switch to packaging made from recycled or biodegradable materials. Cafe operator, for example, may source biodegradable materials for their coffee cups.
- Ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee: There is a lot of hype around coffee — it’s energizing, delicious, and an important part of many people’s morning routine. RTD options make coffee even more convenient for consumers, and the market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 5.79% from 2023 to 2027.
Sustainability Trends to Expect in 2024
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about sustainability. They are mindful of the food they eat, where it comes from, and the sustainable practices of restaurants. Owners can adapt their operations to this trend using the following strategies:
- Upcycling: Restaurants and bars can reduce waste by creating dishes using parts of fruits and vegetables that are typically overlooked or thrown away.
- Reducing single-use packaging: Restaurants and bars also need to address excessive waste and single-use plastic. Owners can reduce waste and appeal to environmentally conscious customers by adopting sustainable packaging and compostable materials.
- Hyper-local sourcing: Supporting local is a leading restaurant and bar industry trend. More chefs and restaurant owners are sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers to reduce their carbon footprint and promote seasonal and fresh produce. Some restaurants even have on-site gardens to offer customers exclusive menus.
- Sustainability in brewing and distilling: Breweries and distilleries are also taking on sustainable practices by implementing production processes, packaging, and sourcing. Organic beers, biodynamic wines, spirits from locals, and organic ingredients will be a trend for 2024.
How To Embrace Technology in 2024
Innovative technology solutions are transforming restaurant operations, and customer expectations have driven the need for restaurants to adapt to these technological times. Restaurant owners need to be smart about integrating technology while trying to offset operational costs.
Here are some ways to embrace technology in 2024:
Many modern restaurants have self-ordering kiosks. While these have been around in the industry for a few years, their popularity is only growing. The convenience of easy-to-use digital displays helps customers save time when they make their orders. Some people also find this to be a more relaxing experience than ordering from a person. Customers can also review their orders, which can help to reduce the likelihood of getting the wrong food. With self-serve kiosks, restaurant owners also have the potential to minimize front-of-house staff and increase the speed of order fulfillment.
Online Ordering and Delivery
In 2023, the global online food delivery industry was valued at over $1 trillion and is expected to rise to $1.65 trillion by 2027. We can expect to see more restaurants, especially larger chains, developing their own online platforms and apps to offer customers an integrated and seamless experience.
More restaurants worldwide are replacing paper-based menus with digital ones, allowing customers to scan a QR code to view the menu. As contactless becomes the norm, restaurant patrons can scan a barcode, view the menu, complete their orders, and even pay online.
Text Message Marketing
As establishments in the industry shift toward automation, text messaging becomes one of the most important restaurant marketing trends. It’s the fastest and easiest way to communicate with customers, which is crucial to keep your customers up to date on all your offerings. Adding text messages as an opt-in for guests will allow you to send out texts regarding upcoming events, promotions, and upcoming reservations. Plus, it helps your brand stay in the minds of customers!
If you choose to add text message marketing to your operations, you must follow the rules put in place by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act to protect customers from receiving spam.
Autonomous Delivery and Food Prep
Large fast-food chains are already testing this trend by using self-driving vehicles for deliveries. While this trend has yet to gain traction, we can expect to see an increase in the future. Drone technology will also revolutionize how restaurant chains deliver food. This technology also has lower CO2 emissions than vehicles and reduces labor costs.
Self-Service Beverage Walls
Self-serve beverage walls are the perfect solution for overcoming the labor shortage. Self-pour technology allows operators to reduce the number of staff needed to operate while increasing the number of beverages sold, which saves operators time, money, and headaches. Self-serve walls provide great benefits for guests, too! Customers can approach the beverage wall whenever it suits them and pour as much or as little as they’d like. Besides saving your guests’ time by not waiting in lines, self-pour systems also decrease product waste and typically increase your beverage sales.
Having a self-serve wall can help you stand out in today’s highly competitive market and does particularly well if you offer a variety of wines, cocktails, or craft beers. Beer enthusiasts love having the chance to sample and taste new craft beers before committing to an entire pint or glass.
A self-serve system is a unique experience that your patrons will love to share, helping you get more exposure in front of a broader market! We also have a great article for operators looking to sell more drinks.
Boost Profits With Self-Pour Technology From PourMyBeer
We hope you have found these tips helpful, and we would love to hear from you! Let us know what other trends you think we should add to our list and which ones you plan to embrace this year. Feel free to share your ideas with us at email@example.com, and don’t forget to share this list of new trends to look out for in 2024 with your friends on social media!
Keeping up with emerging trends in the food and beverage industry is essential for restaurants to remain competitive and satisfy customers. Sustainability and innovation are leading the way looking to 2024, as customers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, but they also want exciting experiences.
Leveraging technology is one way to appeal to customers in the new year, and a self-pour beverage wall is a great starting point. To learn how self-pour beverage technology can help you boost efficiency and increase profitability without needing extra staff, request a quote to contact us today!