Food service industry trends for 2022

For the food service industry, 2021 was a year that transformed the functioning of restaurants across the world on account of the coronavirus pandemic and associated lockdowns. Today’s article will discuss the potential reality of restaurateurs in the coming months, analyse the trends which are likely to grow in popularity and examine changes to consumer preferences.

A battle for employees

According to forecasts from Technomic, a company that provides strategic advice to the food service sector, the sector’s sales in 2022 could surpass the results from 2019. Unfortunately, however, this will be partly due to high levels of inflation. Furthermore, restaurants will have to face a huge labour shortage. In the battle for employees, a great number of venues will be forced to increase hourly wages and implement referral bonuses. Restaurateurs are expected to rely on virtual recruitment processes and are likely to do away with educational requirements for managerial positions.

The new face of the restaurant

At a time when online food ordering portals allow consumers to “click through” cuisines from around the world in mere seconds, restaurants will have to compete for consumers’ attention by offering ever more intriguing and diverse menus.
According to Forbes magazine, there will be an increase in the number of virtual restaurants that only offer food for delivery. This model of functioning enables significant cost reductions and the venues’ quick adaptation to changing consumer needs. The year 2022 will also see a rise in the number of drive-through options where customers can easily collect their orders.

Tech up!

Technology is catching up with the food service sector. During the pandemic, restaurants began to look for solutions to help them streamline their operations and increase staff productivity. Restaurateurs opened up to new technologies and started taking advantage of their potential. This fact is confirmed by Matthias Thom, CEO of app smart GmbH & Lieferschotte GmbH, which develops POS systems and applications for restaurateurs. He explains:

“The entire food delivery industry has benefited from the pandemic and noted strong growth. Many eatery owners set up online sales channels so that they could cover the costs even during lockdown. To meet the huge demand for online stores, apps and POS solutions, we have considerably expanded our team and plan to expand across Europe in the coming years. The coronavirus pandemic was the stimulus for the long-overdue processes in the digitisation of catering. Anyone who had previously resisted digitising their restaurant finally had to implement digital infrastructure in the last two years.”

Development of delivery services

According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company, delivery is the future of the food service industry. Emil Konrad, CEO of Papu.io, corroborates this trend:

“Further growth of the “delivery” market is demonstrated, for example, by large, international fast-food restaurant chains launching their delivery segments at an increasingly dynamic rate. Statistics show that for at least the next 5 years, the restaurant-to-consumer food delivery market will continue to grow at a rate of 10–15% year on year.”

As a result of the increased demand for delivery, food delivery robots are also becoming progressively more popular. The first food delivery robots are currently being tested in several major cities in the US, and they are soon to be launched in university towns. What once was an innovative solution is soon to become our new reality.

Informed consumers

Matthias Thomas also predicts that in 2022, customers will pay greater attention not only to the environmental aspects and the quality of the products served but also to the packaging of the products themselves:

“We are seeing a robust trend towards sustainability and more conscious consumption among end customers. The food of the future is quick to prepare like fast food and high quality like organic produce. This will also have a major impact on catering and delivery services. End customers appreciate sustainably packaged products as well as regional and organic ingredients. The emphasis on climate neutrality and the use of renewable energy and raw materials will also become increasingly significant to tomorrow’s food industry sector.”

Overview

The year 2022 will see restaurant owners quickly adapting to the changing reality by embracing new technology, changing the way their food is packaged and delivered and adjusting their menus accordingly. The year will be riddled with challenges, but it will also be full of opportunities. The ability to spot the approaching trends early to suitably accommodate one’s business can be a factor that is decisive to meeting the business objectives of a restaurant.

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