The Top Catering Trends Predicted For 2020
Recently, we marked not only the start of a new year, but also the start of a new decade. The year 2020 is expected to bring a variety of exciting challenges and opportunities — and this is especially true of the catering industry.
But with constant changes and innovation in dining, it can be hard to keep track. How do we know what will be a success, or in which direction to move? It is not an exact science, but trend-spotting can help.
Below, we take a look at some of the top catering trends expected to become all the rage in 2020. These are areas that have seen investment and growth in recent years, but are expected to fully take off in 2020 and beyond.
Catering and Technology
Catering is becoming more technologically advanced. Whether with small changes such as digital menus and drive thru points, or larger futuristic changes like AI, autonomous delivery vehicles and robot servers, this is a trend that is expected to expand in the new decade.
Technology in catering is also impacting equipment too — with ‘smart’ devices that are intended to be more efficient and responsive, as well as environmentally friendly.
An Immersive Experience
Some catering establishments are now leaning more towards a fully immersive experience. There is a drive towards becoming a ‘lifestyle brand’ — that’s to say, one that is instantly recognisable, and with a variety of merchandise as opposed to just a dining experience.
This has manifested itself not just in special events, launches, and merchandise, but even in some cases an overnight stay! American brand Taco Bell, for example, is expected to open a hotel and resort where guests can book in for a completely immersive experience.
Some brands are moving towards an immersive, dedicated location, while others are expected to do just the opposite. Mobile dining options are increasingly popular — especially with younger diners.
They can take the form of street food and ‘pop ups’, and often have a specific style, niche, or ethnic origin. The advantage of this form of dining for diners is that it is on-the-go, and often in a celebratory setting such as a festival or market.
The advantage for the business owner can be a wider reach and lower fees on expenses such as renting a premises.
Digitally ordered takeaway food also remains a phenomenally popular and successful form of mobile dining — expected to continue to expand.
Social Media Engagement
Social media has been a growing trend on a global scale, but traditionally it has only been used for the purpose of connecting family and friends. In recent years — and especially in 2020 and beyond — businesses have recognised its impact on sales.
In catering, social media engagement can be key and a huge boost to sales. Many chains, restaurants, and coffee shops have been focusing on products that are specifically geared towards social media. That way they can be shared online to huge numbers and generate more visits.
Examples are often seasonal — such as for Halloween, Christmas, or Valentine’s Day — and with an appearance that is strong and ‘gimmicky’ enough to be photograph. Sharing on Instagram and Facebook are amongst the most popular options.
The advantage of these offers is to gain interest and drive visits — especially during quieter periods of the year — and also to test items without them being permanently on the menu.
Plant-based lifestyles have become more common and popular than ever in recent years, and are set to grow in 2020. Adopting a plant-based lifestyle means avoiding the consumption of all animal products. Reasons people do so may be related to health, the environment, animal welfare and more.
Even diners who have not gone entirely vegan or vegetarian are still often seeking ways to reduce their meat and dairy intake without compromising on flavour or the dining experience.
Many catering companies are expected to offer more plant-based options in the coming years, with Greggs, Papa John’s, KFC, Subway, and more all expanding their vegan range.
Reduction of Options Overall
Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, with all the choice expected for 2020, many eateries are also expected to reduce their amount of available options overall.
As the environment and waste becomes a more pressing concern, it is hoped that reducing choice will help to manage costs, keep production efficient, and reduce waste.
Many diners are making the decision on where to eat based on what is the most socially and environmentally responsible business, as well as having health conscious options. But also being delicious will never go out of fashion!