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3 Restaurant Trends for 2018

Determining what restaurant trends are going to evolve each year is difficult with how often the industry changes.

That hasn’t stopped Restaurant Business or The National Restaurant Association from making their predictions. Three things are worth focusing on:

Technology, please

At this point, it should come as no surprise that the combination of technology and restaurants isn’t just a fad.

Restaurant customers – particularly the 18-34 age group (aka Millennials) – are expecting advances in artificial intelligence, voice-powered assistance and, yes, even robot waiters, into their dining experience. While millennials are expecting these technological advances to be part of their restaurant experience, they are also still looking to have that unique personal interaction. Millennials are 5x more likely to use technology to book a reservation than someone 55+. They are also 3x more likely to schedule this reservation through social media channels.

When it comes to transactions, millennials are 3x more likely to choose a card-less method, such as ApplePay or Venmo.

Hold The Meat

Meat substitutes, food halls, and experiential dining are set to become more common in the coming years according to a new report from McCain Foodservice.

Over 50% of diners say that when it comes to making an ordering decision, they think about healthier alternatives. On the flip side, customers don’t want to count calories when choosing what to eat. To adopt this “health conscious” trend, restaurant owners need to find a balance. They need to provide healthy options, but also making the food indulgent enough to come back for more.

“Local, vegetable-forward, and ethnic-inspired menu items will reign supreme in the upcoming year. Guests are implementing these trends in their own lifestyles and want to see them reflected on restaurant menus. In response, chefs are creating more items in-house and turning to global flavors,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research at the National Restaurant Association.

Let’s Stay Home

Over 49% of all meals are consumed at home, NPD found.

Not coincidentally, restaurant meals eaten at home are also up. In-home meals are in high demand. Customers are also looking to combine grocery purchases, or ingredients and food they already have at home with prepared items from a restaurant. This trend is a result of customers wanting food to be more affordable while also eating food they enjoy.

The Better Homes & Gardens’ Food Factor 2018 (a nationwide survey conducted among U.S. women) revealed that women, specifically millennial women, are more interested than ever in global flavors and foods. While their palettes are wide-ranging and international, they are focused on finding local ingredients (including their own backyards) and eating at home. This further supports that keeping food local is and will remain important to customers. Millennials want to connect with what they are eating every step of the way.

Activate Your NetWaiter Site

If you want to attract and keep more local customers informed about your restaurant, check out NetWaiter’s restaurant platform and network. You can search for, and activate, your NetWaiter site and app here:

NetWaiter Team

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