With 2017 on its way out, restaurants prepare themselves for an onslaught of new trends in food, design, and restaurant technology. Every year the media chooses a series of “it” dishes, condiments, preparations, and other techniques diners will be seeing EVERYWHERE in the new year.

Take a look at the trends that are already building a buzz in the restaurant world. By knowing what’s ahead of the curve you can keep your restaurant trending and interesting for new and returning customers alike.

 

The Tech Customers Expect

The global research firm, The NPD Group has just finished a study of the technology operators should expect to see all throughout 2018. Click and collect for smartphones will continue to shape how food is ordered, paid for, and received. Faithful readers already know that online ordering has been a continued growth area for restaurants. With smartphone ordering accounting for more restaurant orders than ever before, this trend is a logical continuation.

In 2018, every customer wants VIP status, and every business should be using data to offer loyalty programs and other incentives to make every guest feel like your best. Loyalty programs are doing wonders for lots of businesses, giving retailers and customers a tangible reason to keep doing business with the same restaurants.

Restaurants are now in the business of data collection, which means as the years continue, there’s likely to be more usage of this data. Recommendations are likely to be more commonplace in 2018, as data now has enough information to offer customers useful suggestions on where and what to eat.

 

Meat: 2018’s Hottest Food Trends

2017 was called the year of the vegetable as diners FINALLY remembered their parent’s advice to eat their veggies. But in 2018 it looks as though meat is back in a big way, giving carnivores more to sink their teeth into. Diners are getting seriously excited about less-known cuts of meat like Vegas Strips, Shoulders, and merlot cuts. The search for affordable, high-quality protein continues to shape the restaurant world, with chicken already dominating 2017 with its meteoric rise to the top of the food chain.

Diner curiosity over different new (to American diners) cuts of meat has lent itself to an explosion in popularity of street food, especially street food that offers global flavors.  It seems American palettes are getting more sophisticated, and restaurants continue to search global cuisine to find exciting new flavors for diners.

In 2018, most experts agree that Middle Eastern flavors are poised to make a big splash into the dining scene. This means global flavors and ethnic cuisines have been extremely popular with diners for several years, and experts agree this trend is likely just getting started.

 

The Style of the Substance

This year diners are looking for more than just something delicious to fill their plates, they also want healthy, functional food that will have them looking and feeling great.

Few diners will be lamenting the decline of the insipid avocado toast and its generational controversy. 2018 will put the petals to the metals with floral food, drink, and plate decoration. A splash of color might be just what diners crave in 2018 after a year of being assaulted by avocado spreads.

Functional mushrooms are another up-and-coming ingredient. Mushroom dishes take an oft-misunderstood food and showcase their amazing health-boosting benefits. Mushroom teas, puffed mushrooms, and other novel ways to get fungus among us will taking up much room in the pantheon of 2018 trends.

Of course there’ll be more trends this year, and developments on these trends we’re talking about today. And as always, CAKE will bring you updates as the year goes on. Have a happy, healthy New Year, and we’ll be back in 2018 to make it easy for you to run your restaurant!