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Determining what trends are going to evolve each year in the food industry is difficult with how often the industry chances. That hasn’t stopped Restaurant Business or The National Restaurant Association from making their predictions. With the lists upon lists that were released, three things have stayed consisted as we move into the second half of the year:

Technology, please
At this point, it comes as no surprise that the combination of technology and restaurants isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Restaurant customers – particularly the 18-34 age group – 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 executed in their restaurant experience, they are also still looking to have that unique personal interaction. Millennials are also 5x more likely to use technology to book a reservation than anyone who is 55+, and 3x more likely to schedule this reservation through their social media channels. When it comes to money transactions, millenials are also 3x more likes to choose cardless payment methods such as Apple Pay and Venmo when going out. “The restaurant industry will have no choice but to embrace these technological trends,” Montaniel said. “Guests are walking into restaurants with higher expectations that ever before.”

Hold The Meat
Meat substitutes, food halls, and experiential dining are set to become more common in r the coming years according to a new report from McCain Foodservice.
Over 50% of diners say that when it comes to making an order decision, they think about whether the restaurant also supplies a healthier option. On the flipside, customers don’t want o be caught up in the world of counting calories when choosing what to eat. To adopt this “health conscious” trend, restaurant owners will need to find a balance between providing healthy options while 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. “The American consumer is just really centered around consuming meals at home today,” Portalatin said. “We consume more dinner at home than we ever have in our history.” In-home meals are in high demand. Customers are looking to combine grocery purchases, or ingredients and food they already have at home with prepared items from a restaurant to complete their meals. The trend behind this 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 also more focused on finding ingredients locally (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.

NetWaiter Team

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