Top 10 Restaurant Trends in 2018
Each year it seems like the restaurant industry reinvents itself on some level. It’s been interesting to watch this year.
The Top 10 Restaurant Trends for 2018
- Restaurants Designed for Delivery or “Ghost” restaurants. Today’s diners demand convenience and 80% order online from a restaurant’s website. They are outsourcing delivery with companies like UberEats and saving money on rent as they don’t need large spaces for customer seating.
- Healthy Food Trends. Many restaurants are embracing healthy food trends as consumers seek healthier lifestyles. 63% of Americans said they were actively trying to eat healthier while another 49% were consciously eating products with reduced fats, gluten, salt or sugar. As allergen-free foods become more mainstream, restaurants are also starting to incorporate gut-friendly foods involving fermentation to improve digestion.
- Food Waste Reduction. Food waste reduction at restaurants is becoming a hot concept this year. Some restaurants are selling their uneaten entrees to the public for up to 80% off the menu price. They’re also committing to using an entire plant, such as broccoli, in entrees and side dishes.
- Fine-Casual Restaurants. Fine-casual restaurants combine fine dining with fast casual dining. Fine-casual is upscale counter-service, and sometimes even table service for a continuous experience, with curated ingredients, wine bars, and an optional tasting menu.
- Farm to Shaker Cocktails. Restaurant dishes using locally-sourced fresh ingredients is now a mainstay. In 2018, this trend has graduated from dining rooms to cocktail bars. Many bartenders are now creating farm-to-shaker cocktails, including local ingredients in their drinks.
- Hyper-Local Sourcing. Many chefs source their food from local farmer’s market in addition to ordering from larger food suppliers. However, more and more restaurants are starting to create their own ingredients from scratch. Restaurants are opening up their own gardens, brewing their own beer on site, or creating housemade items. This trend is called hyper-local sourcing. Traditionally, this trend has been reserved for large country house venues with serious resources. However, now smaller restaurants in urban areas are also DIY’ing their food supplies.
- Environmental Sustainability. As food giants vow to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and restaurant waste from landfills, smaller restaurants are also taking strides towards environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability is the maintenance of factors and practices that contribute to the quality of the environment on a long-term basis.
- Food Transparency. The health-conscious trend continues. As the FDA rolls out menu labeling for larger restaurants, calorie counts on menus, or at least the option for guests to have that information if they ask, has been a prevalent trend in 2018 so far. Consumers are more and more aware of what they are putting in their bodies, and will continue to demand this type of transparency from restaurants. Some restaurants post on their website, they advertise that there are no GMOs, no antibiotics, no added hormones, and no harmful chemicals or pesticides in their food. A visitor can read all of the ingredients in each menu item, as well as see which food allergens each item may affect. More restaurants in 2018 are redesigning their menus with food transparency in mind.
- Root-to-Stem Cooking. Many restaurants are combatting food waste by adopting root-to-stem cooking and nose-to-tail butchery. These no-waste methods allows inspired chefs to use an entire fruit or vegetable, including things like stems or leaves that are less commonly eaten, for a side dish or garnish. Chefs use nearly every food scrap in a recipe, pickling or pureeing or drying fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Open-Book Management. Finally, many restaurants in 2018 are adopting new business practices in response to a growing, modern workforce by sharing their financial information with employees and teaching everyone — from lead chef to dishwasher — how to run a restaurant business. Open-book management empowers every worker to find ways to help the restaurant succeed and teaches important skills like menu pricing and menu costing.