Restaurant Trends 2019: A Guide for Aspiring Restaurant Owners

group of women laughing and enjoying food in the restaurant

A restaurant business can be lucrative. A Forbes report cites 36 percent of American adults consumed fast food daily between 2013 and 2016. Meanwhile, data from the National Restaurant Association suggest the restaurant industry is likely to experience positive sales growth in 2019. Experts expect sales to reach $863 billion this year.

Starting your own restaurant, however, comes with its own challenges. It requires careful planning and research to increase your chances to succeed. And one of the ways to inch toward success is to see what’s trending in the industry.

The Rise of Fast-Casual Restaurants

The restaurant business in the US is categorized into two: fast-food and fine dining. Today, a growing restaurant sector has joined the picture: the fast-casual. This trend combines healthy ingredients with the convenience of fast-food restaurants. This type of restaurant also offers diners freshly prepared, high-quality meals in an informal setting.

Fast-casual restaurants also have a counter service that helps keep the operations quicker.

The concept has taken off that many fast-casuals are franchising, in spite of the initial reluctance to do so. Some fast casuals have recognized the advantages of expanding their business through this system. Franchising has worked for them because they’ve been able to strengthen their supply chain and establish strong ties with the right vendors, ensuring the quality of their food.

Restaurants are Becoming More Automatic

Living in the digital age, automation is becoming a norm and restaurants are keeping up. Expect to see more robots in restaurants. These are not the regular face-recognizing software or AI-powered ordering systems, however. Forbes, in a report, explains these robots make actual food, deliver room service, and take orders and escort customers to their specific tables.

You can also automate your ordering system by setting up self-ordering kiosks, which can speed up lines. An at-the-table ordering system also provides customers a sense of immediacy because they don’t need to wait for a server’s attention.

Restaurant technology may cost substantially, but it’s a rewarding investment. According to Toast, a point-of-sale and management system, 73 percent of diners agree that restaurant technology provides better guest experience. Meanwhile, 95 percent of restaurant owners say technology boosts their business efficiency.

Offer More Plant-Based Options

healthy meal, vegetables and fruits

The Harvard Health Publishing explains plant-based eating plans focus on food from plants. This eating pattern includes:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Oils
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Beans

More consumers eat vegetarian and vegan meals. A report called 2019 Center of the Plate: Seafood &Vegetarian says 23 percent of consumers expect to eat more vegetarian food in the next two years, while 21 percent expect to have more vegan options.

Still on the healthy eating trend, the Mediterranean diet has earned the first spot of the 2019 Best Diets Overall of U.S. News & World Report. This plant-based diet is believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, among others.

The restaurant business can be lucrative. After all, people have to eat. But consider the competition and how diners tend to shift their preferences. Apply the the top three trends of today, and you may just secure your investment.