Almost a year and a half into the global health crisis, people have now adapted to several new norms, including remote working, online classes, contactless payments, curbside food pick up and drop off. As you move forward in planning menus, labor models, and operations be sure to include and give thought to include the following consumer trends as it could be the differential to move the needle forward to success.

  • Increase the growing of your own produce and herbs. It allows more engagement within your community and your customers’ awareness heightened to local growing and to added nutrition and flavors.
  • Be aware of consumers’ expectations of the multitasking power of food. People are looking for foods that can give them:
    • whole body nutrition
    • eating and drinking to support immune health-  e.g., immunity blends
    • plant based- immunity immune health
    • gut health- (pre biotic digestives)
    • wellness for skin
    • spotlight on no sugar or natural sugars
    • customers are looking to reduce/eliminate alcohol so be inventive in non-alcoholic beverages
  • Expectations are for big bold flavor experiences and colorful plates/presentations for beverage and food items e.g., effusions, flower tea kits.
  • Selfie culture-wherever and whenever the opportunity for a photo with or without food, images of preparation and/or food prep videos are prevalent.  Opportunity for food, small ware and table accessories to be photograph ready.
  • Thoughtful thriftier consumers are interested in sustainability (containers, take out bags, origin of small wares, decrease waste (portion size), and budget friendly menus.
  • Dining on Demand-whenever and whatever they want throughout the day.
  • Robotics/technology an integral part of your operations. It can assist with labor shortages.
  • High expectations for contactless for safety, sanitation and efficiencies.
    • touchless handles, bathroom surfaces, touchless menus
  • Marketing communications and effective digital content that should include what you are doing for your customers to make them feel as comfortable and safe as you know they are
  • QR codes to give you the ability to include daily menus, food and bar menus, nutritional data of food choices, and food sources. QR codes can also be used for marketing and gather customer data for providing better services and adjust menu mix as needed too.
  • Food delivery and pick up has increased to about 33% of total revenue and will continue to be a strong source for success.
    • ability to adapt holding areas to include food lockers, proper safe temperature control holding areas
    • ease of ordering and payment
    • ease of website navigation
    • focused menus for delivery limited menus
    • curbside pickup options
  • Food ingredients and menu items will continue to be an avenue for seeking comfort/connection
    • include foods to soothe the soul 
    • Covid-19 was the year of carbohydrates comeback
    • we have become more united by foods- cooking forums, master classes, classes via zoom, cooking demonstrations all enable shared experiences and successes.

Paradigm shifts because of the pandemic that have affected the foodservice market will continue to infiltrate hospitality expectations.  Be aware, agile and flexible.


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