Top Tectonic Shifts and Challenges Facing Restaurant Owners and Operators in 2020

Each year, we look to the future of our industry. News we believe will shape it. Technology we see leading the way. Standout industry stars we plan to watch. And trends and topics that we predict will make their mark.

In 2019, we reported on the 5 tectonic shifts and challenges we saw facing restaurant owners and operators:

  1. Technology by way of personalization, customization & automation
  2. Rising Food Costs
  3. Reinvention of Online Delivery
  4. Influx of the Gen Z Workforce
  5. Important trend: Socially Conscience Restaurants

Now, as we continue to keep our finger on the pulse of marketplace news and trends in order to best serve our clients, every day…. Here are our top 2020 industry predictions:

Get Ready for Real Growth: Projections Calling for 50% Growth Rate Over the Next Decade. News reports from the National Restaurant Association expect the industry to hit $1.2 trillion in sales by 2030, which translates to a nearly 50% growth in sales from 2018 and an additional 2 million employees in the restaurant and hospitality workforce, in the coming decade alone. As we reported, technology, online delivery, and the changing face of our industry workforce will contribute to the tremendous growth in the coming decade.

Regenerative Agriculture. Sustainability has long been a front-of-mind topic for us. From sustainable agriculture, design, and packaging to championing the environment and developing a sustainable restaurant company that buys direct from American family farmers whenever possible, our team is all in for the evolving Regenerative Agriculture trend. Looking to our great land for ways to instill the Regenerative Agriculture system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem, is a great way to enter the new decade.

Rethinking Kid’s Menus. Our team is approached by clients to develop menus for their restaurant businesses all the time. Part of that development process is oftentimes kid’s menus. We are looking to broaden our sustainable efforts to include food and drink that are scratch-made and delicious, even for the pickiest of eaters. For example, our bar & beverage teams show our clients the benefits and ease of making scratch-made sodas, in lieu of processed, sugary alternatives. We want children to explore healthy options, as developing good eating (and drinking) habits early is key.

Move Over Soy, Here Comes Meat-Plant Based Alternatives. Sure, diners still seek out plant-based foods, such as the IMPOSSIBLE™ Burger, but we are seeing meat-plant based alternatives moving up the trend scale next year. Food companies are exploring the latest trend in offering consumers burgers and such made with meat, just less of it. What we are seeing is a trend of approx. 25% plant-based foods, such as fresh mushrooms, within a meat-based meal. We’ll keep watching to see if this trend continues its upswing in 2020.

Hungry for More. We’re excited about the new catering online marketplace that works to connect independent chefs looking to build their brands with local businesses looking for delicious office catering options. Enter: HUNGRY. Their focus of keeping it local, intrigued us from the start. Creating opportunity for talented, regional chefs and helping to power their local economy, while giving a portion of profits back to fighting hunger in their community, is a business model we’re happy to get behind and watch prosper in 2020.