Restaurants Trends in 2024, Technology, Plant Based Food, Social Media

to customers at a Corner Bakery Cafe October 4, 2005 in Glenview, Illinois. Dallas-based Brinker International has agreed to sell their Corner Bakery Cafe restaurants to CBC Restaurant Corp. There are 92 Corner Bakery Cafes in eight states and Washington, DC. Other Brinker restaurants include Chili’s Grill & Bar, Maggiano’s Little Italy, On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina and Romano’s Macaroni Grill. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)Getty Images

The restaurant industry is an ever-changing ecosystem shaped by changing consumer preferences, technological advancements, and global events. In 2024, several emerging trends are influencing how restaurants operate, market themselves, and cater to customer needs. The industry is witnessing a dynamic shift from innovative technologies to sustainable practices. This article looks at the key trends shaping the restaurant business in 2024, providing insights into the factors driving change and their implications for consumers and businesses.

Technology Still Top of the List

One of the most significant trends in the restaurant industry is increasing technology integration into various operations. From digital menus and contactless ordering to advanced point-of-sale systems, technology is streamlining processes and enhancing the overall dining experience. Mobile apps allow customers to place orders, make reservations, and even pay for their meals seamlessly. Artificial intelligence and data analytics are used to personalize menus and promotions based on customer preferences, creating a more engaging and efficient dining experience.

Additionally, the rise of virtual kitchens and ghost restaurants, fueled by the growth of online food delivery services, is transforming the traditional restaurant model. These establishments operate without a physical storefront, focusing solely on fulfilling orders through delivery apps. This trend is reshaping the industry’s dynamics, presenting challenges and opportunities for restaurateurs.

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Organic and Plant Based Options Grow

Many restaurants are embracing plant-based and vegetarian options to cater to the growing demand for these choices and as a commitment to sustainability. The use of eco-friendly packaging materials and efforts to minimize carbon footprints are becoming integral parts of a restaurant’s branding strategy. In 2024, sustainability is not just a trend; it’s a necessity that aligns with consumer values and expectations.

Nil Zacharias, Founder and CEO, Plantega , a company that created a in-deli food concept featuring plant based sandwiches said: “The popularity of plant-based options in food service continues to surge. This is primarily being driven by factors such as broader cultural awareness around the benefits of consuming plant-based foods, better tasting and versatile products that can be adapted into a range of menu items, and the ability to present the products in a familiar environment and context, which reduces the barrier to trial for diners.”

As environmental consciousness grows, sustainability has become a significant focus for the restaurant industry. Restaurant customers are increasingly focused on the ecological impact of their choices, and restaurants are responding by adopting eco-friendly practices. This includes sourcing organic and local ingredients, controlling food waste, and employing energy-efficient measures.

Dining Experiences Beyond Food

Beyond serving delicious food, restaurants increasingly focus on creating unique and memorable dining experiences. Experiential dining goes beyond the traditional meal concept, encompassing everything from immersive themes and interactive elements to entertainment and storytelling.

Pop-up restaurants, themed dining events, and chef collaborations are gaining popularity, allowing customers to taste the culinary world in new and exciting ways. Social media user reviews and influencers amplify these experiences as customers share their unique dining adventures, contributing to the restaurant’s marketing efforts.

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Health and Wellness Influence Menu Choices

Consumers seek nutritious options that align with their dietary preferences and health goals. Restaurants are responding by incorporating more diverse and health-conscious menu items, including gluten-free, low-carb, and plant-based choices.

Trace Miller, Founder of Konala an Idaho based Quick Service Restaurant company stated “I started sports and my fitness journey 27 years ago. In my experience the physical fitness aspect of health is 10% of the battle, while diet and nutrition is 90% of the battle and what most fitness enthusiasts would describe as the difficult part. I believe that the key to healthier diets across America is to make it as convenient and delicious as possible to eat well. At Konala we do this by providing high protein items with customizable macros served via the drive thru. I would love to continue to see the eating habits of America change for the better.”

In addition, transparency in ingredient sourcing and nutritional information is becoming a standard practice as consumers are increasingly interested in making informed food choices. Restaurants that prioritize health and wellness are meeting customer expectations and positioning themselves as responsible and caring establishments.

Personalization On The Rise

The demand for personalized dining experiences is rising, with consumers expecting restaurants to cater to their individual preferences. Technology is crucial in this trend, as data analytics enable restaurants to understand customer behavior and tailor offerings accordingly.

Customization options, such as build-your-own menus and personalized recommendations based on past orders, are becoming more common. This trend extends beyond the menu to include customized marketing messages and loyalty programs, creating more engaging relationships between the restaurant and its guests.

What to Expect in 2024

The restaurant industry in 2024 is navigating a landscape shaped by technological advancements, sustainability imperatives, and changing consumer expectations. Technology integration, a focus on sustainability, experiential dining, health-conscious choices, and personalized experiences are key trends driving this transformation. As restaurants adapt to these changes, they have the opportunity to meet customer demands and differentiate themselves in a competitive market. The successful restaurant of the future will embrace innovation, prioritize sustainability, and deliver exceptional and personalized dining experiences.

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Gary Occhiogrosso is the Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, which is a co-operative based franchise development and sales firm. Their “Coach, Mentor & Grow Program” focuses on helping Franchisors with their franchise development, strategic planning, advertising, selling franchises and guiding franchisors in raising growth capital. Gary started his career in franchising as a franchisee of Dunkin Donuts before launching the Ranch *1 Franchise program with it’s founders. He is the former President of TRUFOODS, LLC a multi brand franchisor and former COO of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille. He advises several emerging and growth brands in the franchise industry. Gary was selected as “Top 25 Fast Casual Restaurant Executive in the USA” by Fast Casual Magazine and named “Top 50 CXO’s” by SmartCEO Magazine. In addition Gary is an adjunct instructor at New York University on the topics of Restaurant Concept & Business Development as well Entrepreneurship. He has published numerous articles on the topics of Franchising, Entrepreneurship, Sales and Marketing. He was also the host of the “Small Business & Franchise Show” broadcast in New York City and the founder of

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