In Brief:

      • The franchise industry has undergone a rapid change in the last decade and has been catapulted forward by Covid-19.
      • Restaurants must now learn to work in symbiosis with third-party food apps or consumers will look elsewhere.
      • Consumers now demand a heightened level of transparency that covers hygenic practices, environmental standards, and more.
      • A rise of the collective health-conscious appetite in America means that restaurant franchises must learn to provide high-quality, healthy food.
      • Restaurants across the nation have adapted to the far-reaching tech revolution by adding management systems, order kiosks, etc.

Restaurateurs are often faced with the need to adapt and innovate based on their environment. Never before has this been more true than in 2020. Covid-19 has forced every restaurant franchise to either adapt or die. Here’s the trends that restaurants established in 2020 that will ultimately come to shape the industry for next decade and more.

2021 Restaurant Franchise Trends

Virtual Food Ordering

Online food ordering has increased exponentially over the last few years with the rise of apps like UberEats, Grubhub, and DoorDash. According to the National Restaurant Association, three out of five Americans order takeout at least once per week.

Millions of those Americans have shifted from ordering on the phone, a task which can be quite tedious, to ordering from an app. Statista predicts that online food ordering will become a $32B industry by 2024.

Restaurants that favor third party apps over simply picking up the phone will likely lose out on a large chunk of revenue. Many customers may simply opt for a restaurant that utilizes a third-party app instead, regardless of the quality.

Transparency Will Reign Supreme

There has been a growing movement over the last decade for restaurants to provide the source of their products. Many restaurants advertise that their food is organic, is raised humanely, and that the labor used is fair-trade.

Many customers now call for a heightened level of transparency, especially in the face of the pandemic and a growing concern over climate change. Customers are interested in hygienic practices that restaurants engage in as well as temperature checks and so on. Customers are also interested in the environmental impact of restaurants and if they have “zero-waste” kitchens have taken on conservation initiatives.

The Rise of Health-Conscious Restaurant Franchises

Gone are the days of the “Super-Size” meal. New found research coupled with the rise of the obesity epidemic has led to consumers looking for healthier options. Consumers now demand that their food be organic, teeming with kombucha, natural oils, probiotics, and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Restaurants now realize that it is not enough to simply make their food taste good, consumers want to know that their food is actually helping their body. The mounting cost of healthcare and meatless revolution have also led to an increased health-conscious approach to the restaurant industry.

A Restaurant Franchise Tech Revolution

The classic restaurant consists of hosts, waiters, busboys, and cooks. For decades, restaurants have lacked technology because they simply did not need it. Restaurant technology companies are now looking to completely change the restaurant landscape through order kiosks, automated cooking terminals, and self-cleaning stations.

Restaurant management platforms are now considered a vital part of any well-run restaurant as well. These platforms manage inventory, online orders, sales, open tables, and much more. 

The Restaurant Industry Is Poised For A Comeback

According to the National Restaurant Association, global restaurant sales fell by over $240B in 2020. But, there is hope on the horizon for a large comeback when the pandemic finally ends. According to the NRA’s report, over 85% of consumers are eager to return to restaurants and many say they do not dine inside as much as they would like.

It is clear from this report that restaurants still provide a valuable service to consumers – the opportunity to socialize, eat in a nice environment, and of course people-watch! Who doesn’t do that when they dine out?

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