March 17, 2020

With the holiday season in the rearview, it’s time once more to discuss the most anticipated restaurant trends of the year. Keto diets and third-party food-delivery apps were among some of the biggest dining and food preparation trends trends in 2019, but can we expect to see in 2020?

Below are several of key restaurant trends to keep your eye on throughout 2020.

Demand for Organic Foods Will Keep Rising

Restaurants across the country have been serving organic foods for years but shifting demographics could make this even bigger in 2020.

Generation Z is entering its mid-20s. With the lower end of peak restaurant customers in their late 20s, this fledgling demographic is set to make its mark. Gen Z unquestionably prefers healthy, eclectic menus made from organic and locally sourced ingredients. Now is the time to connect with the next generation of customers.

Organic foods often cost more than regular ingredients, but customers are increasingly willing to pay more for environmentally conscious meals — and more people are choosing organic foods over the alternative.

Delivery-Friendly Menu Items

Food delivery apps exploded onto the scene last year, and this year more restaurants will launch in-house take-out and delivery options to meet consumer demands.

Take-out and delivery services are investments for any restaurant. Food Service Exchange will be an excellent source for additional refrigeration units at lower prices. Starting full-fledged delivery services may be too much for many restaurants — the costs of delivery vehicles, dispatch systems, additional insurance, and more add up quickly — but optimizing food take-out should be on everyone’s minds in 2020.

Restaurants Will Embrace Openness

Open concept designs are sweeping the restaurant industry, creating demand for modern furniture and affordable remodeling services. Gone are the days when kitchens were hidden from customers at any cost. In 2020, more customers prefer to see how their foods are being prepared, leading to more open kitchen designs, tabletop grills, and other design innovations.

Menus Will Be Streamlined

We’ve already established how rising costs will dictate trends through the coming year. Expect many restaurants to streamline their menus to reduce costs and increase productivity.

However, streamlining doesn’t necessarily mean simplifying. More people are choosing new culinary experiences over traditional food choices, and that trend will likely continue for years. The key will be cultivating unique, delicious menus with the right balance of shared ingredients and food prep.

Fast-Casual Dining Will Dominate

Fast-casual restaurants are the fastest-growing segment of the restaurant industry. Although growth has slowed a bit in recent years, this dominant market sector saw 3 percent customer growth in 2018, according to the research firm NPD Group. Customer growth through the rest of the restaurant industry was flat.

This trend shows that customers value quickness, but they’d rather sit for higher-quality meals than settle for typical fast food.

More Flexitarian Menus

Flexitarians are people who eat mostly vegan and vegetarian diets but don’t completely avoid meat and animal products. The growing popularity of flexitarian diets is yet another sign that more consumers will pay more for organic, healthy meals rich with fresh produce. Restaurant owners who traditionally split their menus between vegetarian and protein entrees should consider new choices with more common ground.

Customers May Start Preferring Self-Service Kiosks

Great customer service will always be the bedrock of any successful business. That said, customers are warming up to self-service kiosks that can improve the casual dining experience — especially for younger, tech-savvy customers who crave instant results.

These kiosks can increase productivity and reduce demands on staff. Beware, though, because the combination of kiosks and poor customer service can leave loyal customers feeling neglected and undervalued. Even the most high-tech kiosks can’t replace quality customer service, but they can certainly enhance the overall experience of a restaurant.

Finding Great Foodservice Equipment for Less

Rising costs in many areas of restaurant ownership — wages, higher-quality foods, shipping, and more — will put cost savings at a premium. That’s why Food Service Exchange is poised to be a leading trendsetter in 2020.

Through Food Service Exchange — also known as FSX — restauranteurs can score huge discounts on brand-new commercial kitchen appliances, dining room furniture, and more. These savings are possible because FSX deals in overstock, discontinued, and scratch & dent equipment and supplies, filling a longtime void created as brick-and-mortar foodservice supply shops have struggled to stay afloat nationwide.

Now, restaurant owners who can’t afford the most recently released models can still find deals on ovens, refrigerators, freezers, bar equipment, and more.

Click here to see our latest deals.