Each era can be characterized by its restaurants. From diners in the ’60s and ’70s to the proliferation of the classic American chains in the ’80s, eating out has always been changing to keep up with the times. It comes as no surprise that the current generation of big spenders, millennials, is shaping the restaurant industry in unexpected ways. It is important for chefs and restaurant owners to know about these changes so that they can innovate their services. Business must go on, and there will always be hungry stomachs to serve. Here are some ways the restaurant industry is changing:
People want options that cater to different diets
One of the big ways eating out is changing is that people don’t want to get served red meat and potatoes anymore. Even pasta is not quite cutting it. When millennials go out to eat, they expect different dietary options on the menu. They expect chefs to know the difference between “vegan” and “vegetarian,” and they want their food to be labeled correctly. Gluten-free alternatives are mainstream now, and a lot of restaurants even label whether a meal is paleo-friendly or keto-friendly.
People eat in rather than eat out
The 2010s was the decade when food met technology, and the merger has yielded unexpected results. It turns out that millennials don’t want to go out to eat after all, especially because they work long hours and eating out is expensive. The delivery trend has taken the restaurant industry by storm, especially because there are now specialized apps that can be used for ordering. This is good news for restaurant owners as they can use it to expand their business and make more sales.
Fast food is out, fine casual is in
As people have become more and more health-conscious, fast food has fallen in popularity. People are choosing to eat their lunch with colleagues at hip and upscale fast-casual places where they are served good-quality food on the cheap. This is a great business opportunity for people who worry about the cost of buying a restaurant franchise.
People are more adventurous when it comes to eating
This is another big overall trend in eating habits of people. People are bored with traditional eating-out cuisines such as Italian and Chinese. They are becoming more and more adventurous in what they consume. Exotic cuisines such as Georgian or Korean are all the trend. People also prefer the use of foreign ingredients in regular dishes, such as purple yams in dessert or agave instead of sugar.
Palates are going green
As people have gotten more health-conscious, they have also become more environmentally conscious. They prefer to eat locally sourced ingredients, and farm-to-table restaurants are in now. People are more likely to eat offal and unusual ingredients such as nettles.
This is an exciting time for the food industry as these changes mean that traditional models of serving food are being shaken up. These also signal great opportunities that every quick-thinking chef or restaurateur should make use of.