As the end-of-year calm sets in for many restaurant owners, this is an opportunity to revisit your menu, rethink your operations, and incorporate new trends that can help you stand out from the competition. Looking to stay ahead of the game? Find out which trends our foodservice experts have identified to adopt in 2022!
Embracing new technology
Technology is an asset in the foodservice industry, and it will be for years to come. Customers now expect restaurant menus and ordering to be accessible on mobile, whether or not dine-in is currently being offered.
This accessibility will help operators cater to a wider range of people: for example, 15% of customers prefer ordering pizza from locations that offer innovative ordering technology, like an app.1 Frequent diners also prefer using digital payment systems.2
How to stay ahead in 2022
- Create a loyalty program that allows diners to order online, book a table in advance, and even receive discounts
- Offer promotions and discounts whenever possible: 34.3% of consumers say deals motivate them to order more.3
- Create a QR code menu for each table, then add it to other products such as your delivery bags, posters, and business cards so it’s easy for customers to browse.
- Consider robots as waiters and cooks, and think about investing in smart vending machines. The global robotics market will expand significantly in the next five years, and people are becoming more open to the idea of robotic technology in customer-facing situations.5 To speed up the preparation, some Pizzerias are already using pizza-making robots to perform several tasks such as spreading the dough and toppings.
Adapting your menu items
Something we learned over the last few years, which will still be relevant for 2022, is that most consumers seek out menus that are both innovative (family meals, meal kits, unique flavour combinations) and simple (fewer options, menu adapted to the time of the day). Overall, 50% of consumers say that innovative menu items can inspire them to try a new restaurant.6
Consumers are also interested in supporting local restaurants and trying ingredients produced or processed in your region. They enjoy knowing the story behind these products. They look for terms that point to local products (such as "100% Canadian") as well as other premium cues, including "fresh" and "seasonal."7
They also want vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based options: 79% of choose to go meatless at least once a week8, and 30% of baby boomers say they have been trying more plant-based food in the past couple of years.9
Finally, consumers want concepts and high-quality ingredients with proven benefits: 44% are more likely to visit a restaurant that is transparent about its menu items.10
Menu additions to try in 2022
- Veggie dishes, such as pizzas, are among the top dishes with cheese!11
- Surprising and innovative flavour combinations such as .
Offer a simple delivery experience
Overall, 19% of American consumers who cook at home say they have experienced cooking fatigue, and that number rises to 29% among consumers between 35 and 44 years old.12 When diners don’t feel like putting together their own meals, make sure your restaurant is only a click away, and that the delivery experience is both simple and intuitive. If not, they may go elsewhere.
Stay ahead in 2022 by:
- Considering the concept of mobile kitchens or .
- Offering an easy-to-use delivery service, with third-party delivery companies or managed in-house.
- Offering ready-to-eat options like grazing boxes or bento boxes.
Restaurant owners that can implement some of these trends successfully and adopt the right tech tools will be the best-equipped to attract customers' attention and build loyalty.
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1 Technomic, 2020 Canadian Pizza Consumer Trend Report, 2020
2 The NPD Group, COVID-19 Foodservice Sentiment Study, Canada, May 2020
3 Mintel, Dining Out: Incl Impact of COVID-19, July 2020
4 Technomic, Covid-19 Impact on Canadian Foodservice, April 2020
5 Research and Markets, Automation and Robotics Market in Industrial, Enterprise, Military, and Consumer Segments by Type, Components, Hardware, Software, and Services 2021 – 2026 Report, March 2021.
6 Technomic, Canadian Consumer Omnibus survey, January 2021
7 Technomic, State of the Canadian menu, 2021
8 Technomic, Canadian May 2020 Omnibus consumer survey data, May 2020
9 Amica Senior Lifestyles, Baby Boomers and Seniors Coronavirus Survey, October 2020
10 Technomic Inc., 2020
11 Technomic, Ignite menu data. Base, Q4-2019 to Q4-2020
12 Mintel, The Future of On The Go Innovation