Each new year brings new trends. In the Food Service industry, 2019 is bringing in its own wave of fresh trends!
The desire for convenience and the popularity of fast-casual dining remains important to diners in this new year. Time is an asset that everyone values, making it a major factor in consumer dining. To protect this asset, diners choose restaurants that serve quality food in an efficient manner. In addition, several fast-casual restaurants are now using “luxury ingredients” in their simply fashioned foods in order to provide quality as well as convenience. According to researchers from Restaurant Business, natural food enhancements will continue to grow in popularity among restaurateurs in 2019. These ingredients typically include natural remedies that enhance nutrients and their absorption by the body helping with vitamin and mineral deficiencies. These “natural remedies” are expected to improve the bottom line for those in the Food Service industry as well.
Use of local foods and flavors is also a Food Service trend that you can expect in 2019. Restaurants are continuing to embrace what many refer to as the “local food movement.” Consumers enjoy sitting down to menus that read “locally grown ingredients.” Local grown ingredients give diners confidence and peace of mind about their food. It also gives a sense of advocacy towards the local community. Some restaurants are going a step further with hyper-local foods. Restaurants that use hyper-local grown foods are growing specific ingredients such as produce in-house.
As social media platforms continue to flood the internet, restaurateurs are beginning to create innovative menus that adapt well to the funky images and elaborate styling seen on social media. Technologies inside and outside of the Food Service industry impact how restaurants operate and advertise. The same goes for the ever-changing preferences and behaviors of the customers. All of which affect how restaurants will operate not only in 2019, but every year following.
In addition to the typical Food Service trends this year, we will see some less obvious trends affect restaurant operations and the overall bottom line. For example, tariffs that the US and Canada face. These tariffs serve as an opportunity for some restaurant owners. Specifically, local restaurateurs could experience these tariffs as an advantage. As mentioned previously, the use of locally grown food and produce is on the rise. As larger chain restaurants suffer high import tariffs on produce and other products, they often begin raising prices to combat this incurred cost. Hometown restaurant owners who buy locally or produce in-house ingredients may well be able to maintain competitive prices.
A negative trend in the Food Service industry witnessed in 2018 is hitting harder in 2019–the record low unemployment rate. Unfortunately, for an industry with high employee turnover, the low unemployment rate can prove to be detrimental. Now that there are more jobs available in the restaurant industry, employees are often less inclined to remain loyally employed at a restaurant. As restaurants become desperate to keep employees, they may experience a rise in negotiations for higher wages from employees. Another continuing trend…competition for quality real estate and high insurance/real estate prices. These trends will continue to present concerns for growing chains in 2019.
Although trends in the food industry may vary from year to year, there is one thing that remains the same–the importance of customer preferences. No matter the year, consumer trends will continue to affect the Food Service industry, keeping it fresh and exciting!
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