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The top foodservice trends of 2024 are projected to include hyper-local and sustainable ingredients, AI-integrated technological innovations, redefined kids’ menus, improved restaurant dining experiences, and narrative-based culinary adventures. We can say 2024 will be a richly rewarding year for those in the industry:
From a customer’s perspective, there is a growing interest in dining for memories among the public, and appealing to these impulses by adjusting menus, themes, and decorations can boost your business significantly. Also, as the climate change discourse spreads, customers are becoming more conscious of their choices and looking for locally sourced ingredients and sustainability efforts in their favorite restaurants.
Catching on your customers’ inclinations and keeping your business up to date are crucial aspects of surviving in the food industry. From a business perspective, 2024 is expected to be the year of AI-based technologies and innovations. By staying up to date on the latest developments, you can find ways to incorporate such technologies into your restaurant and increase efficiency significantly. You can use AI to automate and manage your inventory or energy spending. Continue to stay ahead of the curve with our 2024 foodservice trends predictions.
What are The Top 9 Foodservice Trends of 2024?
Staying ahead of the curve is crucial as the culinary landscape continually evolves. Here are the top 9 food industry trends set to dominate in 2024, each reflecting the dynamic changes in consumer preferences, technological advancements, and global sustainability efforts shaping the future of dining
1. Restaurant Dining is Making a Comeback!
We will witness a significant revival of restaurant dining in 2024. After the pandemic years, when take-out and home dining have become extremely common, customers are growing enthusiastic about dining in restaurants again. Restaurant dining is inherently associated with special occasions and treating yourself. From the clinking sound of glasses to the magical smells of freshly made dishes, the restaurant dining experience offers a chance to create special memories.
Also, one of the other appealing aspects of restaurant dining is the social interactions. The buzz of conversation, music in the background, and the overall ambiance enrich the dining experience. After the pandemic years, being part of a community, sharing moments with friends and family, or even enjoying the lively atmosphere as a solo diner is immensely valued and missed.
You can use this foodservice trend prediction to your benefit by improving the ambiance of your restaurant, investing in themes to be more Instagrammable, and organizing social events to attract more customers.
2. Innovative and Prominent Use of Spices
Spices are important components of many cuisines, and their innovative use is predicted to be one of the most prominent foodservice trends in 2024. Spices play a role in redefining the flavors of common meals and traditional menus. This trend is on the rise in 2024, as it is being embraced by many chefs and restaurateurs experimenting with unique spice blends to create new flavors. It’s a simple method of transforming familiar dishes into their most unique versions.
You can hop on this trend of 2024 by reimagining your traditional menu with the inclusion of spices from around the world and working on your own special fusions. This innovative venture will add a layer of culture and story to your meals and establish you as a one-of-a-kind business in the eyes of the customers. Plus, despite being a simple method, it is highly profitable. Once you have a signature mixture, your customers will have no choice but to keep coming to experience their favorite flavor, which will be completely unique to your kitchen.
3. Blending Cultures: Fusion of Global Cuisines
Fusion cuisine has been on the rise for a while now and will continue steadily in 2024 as well. In a highly globalized world, the fusion of different cuisines will be an important foodservice trend in 2024. You can benefit from this trend and increase your profits by diversifying your menu and creating a dynamic customer experience. Combining different ingredients and techniques from different cuisines will set you apart from your competitors and allow you to create more unique and signature meals. Plus, thanks to the cuisines you include and drive inspiration from, you will appeal to a significantly wider customer base!
4. The Rise of Plant-Based Eating
Global issues heavily shape customer behavior, and increasing reports of carbon emissions and climate change have led many people to reduce their meat intake. More and more people are becoming environmentally conscious, and these environmental worries are leading to a shift in their dietary preferences. Plant-based diets have been on the rise for the past few years, and in 2024, the rise will continue. According to a report in Statista, worldwide sales of plant-based products will grow by over $35 billion in 2027.
You can capitalize on this foodservice trend by creating interesting plant-based options for your customers, like veggie burgers and plant-based tacos, to increase your menu diversity and revenue. Offering options for vegan, vegetarian, and other dietary preferences will set you apart from the competition and make you available to a wider audience. You can take your efforts one step further by creating a separate vegetarian and vegan dining menu to make it easier for the customers to browse what is available and highlight your inclusivity and diversity.
5. Experiential Dining and Memorable Experiences
2023 was filled with themed café openings and sophisticated night-out stories on social media. Customers will continue to gravitate towards restaurants that could offer them more than a nice meal in 2024. While the food remains the focal point, you should take measures to make the customer’s experience as memorable as possible.
You can invest in this foodservice trend by creating signature themes and redesigning your establishment accordingly. Such methods went viral in 2023 when some London restaurants, like Tastefilm, started pairing movies and dining. They offered the meals shown in the movie course by course as the meals came up in the movie. This immersive experience has gone globally viral and started to emerge in other countries as well. Pairing of events and food is a rising foodservice trend of 2024. There are plays, murder mystery games, quiz nights, and more being arranged by restaurants.
You can leverage social media and create if you wish to do something more affordable, such as Instagrammable corners or unique-looking dishes that people will want to snap a picture of and share. Also, social media is a great hub of advertisement. Organizing any event will create a buzz and generate content for your customers.
6. Improved and Diverse Kids Menus
A redefinition of kids’ menus is finally receiving some attention, as restaurants are phasing out the good old nuggets for healthier, more nutrient options such as vegetable-based burritos and nutritional burgers. To make use of this foodservice trend, you can come up with creative presentation methods to get kids to eat healthier meals and encourage the parents’ loyalty by making the kids love their meals. Even simple gestures such as cutting the bread into a heart shape can win over children and lead them to dine healthier.
7. Off-Premise Dining and Delivery Innovations
According to Zippia, food delivery statistics from 2023 show that the off-premise dining industry has grown 300% faster and now makes up 40% of the entire sales of a restaurant. Customer behavior has changed drastically in the last decade, and having a good take-out and delivery system is key to survival. Considering the fact that the average American spends 67 dollars on take-out every week, you can use this habit to your advantage and increase your revenues.
Establishing a take-out station in your business will help you compartmentalize the daily operations of your business and encourage customers to buy take-out. In addition to on-site solutions, you should create accounts on food delivery apps to broaden your reach as much as possible.
8. Locally Sourced Ingredients and Sustainability
The local food movement is increasingly gaining momentum and will be an important foodservice trend in 2024. Consumers increasingly want to know where their food comes from every day. This movement is about sourcing your ingredients locally, reducing your restaurant’s carbon footprint, and supporting local communities. You can hop on this foodservice trend by locally sourcing your products from nearby farms and purveyors.
Adopting a farm-to-table approach is eco-friendly and fun. Sustainability is a big foodservice trend of 2024, and farm-to-table is a sustainable approach that emphasizes shortening the supply chain and ensuring transparency in the sourcing process. You can directly incorporate farm-to-table in your restaurant by contacting local farms and producers. This would ensure the freshness and quality of your products and contribute to a more sustainable food system.
9. AI and Tech Incorporation
One of the most visible impacts of AI and tech is that they revolutionized customer engagement in the food service industry. Therefore, AI will play a huge part in the foodservice industry in 2024 in the fields below:
- You can enhance the dining experience with virtual assistants and AI-powered chatbots. From personalized menu recommendations based on customers’ dietary restrictions and preferences to chatbots making reservations and real-time feedback, this trend can greatly help your restaurant!
- This foodservice trend also helps you manage your inventory with the integration of AI. AI-driven inventory systems can predict the demand, optimize your supply chains, and reduce your carbon footprint by reducing food wastage.
- Integrating POS systems also optimizes your workflow and reduces wait times. This improves the customer experience and also allows your restaurant to operate more sustainably.
- The AI and tech integration trend helps you upgrade your delivery and ordering systems! You can utilize innovations such as drone deliveries and AI to optimize your delivery routes to become more efficient. You can also utilize AI to optimize your app and website to offer your customers more control over their orders and delivery preferences.
- Although automation in the kitchen has been on the rise for a few years, automated waiters have emerged and immediately became a huge trend in a very short time. Automated waiters equipped with AI and sensors are being employed in some restaurants to serve dishes, interact with customers, and even perform tasks like cleaning tables. This foodservice trend of 2024 will enhance efficiency and also provide a unique and futuristic dining experience.
Will There Be a Record Growth in the Foodservice Industry in 2024?
Yes, there is expected to be a record growth in the foodservice industry following the three-year period of tough challenges restaurants had to deal with worldwide. The pandemic was a general problem for the service industry, and with customers preferring to stay at home and eat there, the foodservice industry faced many challenges.
While the industry saw a resurgence in 2023, thanks to the pandemic being over, the previous shift to take-out in customer habits was hard to reverse completely. With the aid of decreases in food price inflation, improvements in the job market, and a reduction in supply chain disruptions, 2023 was a breath of fresh air for restaurant owners, and 2024 looks like it will be better than ever.
- Projected Sales and Industry Boom Facts: Experts are predicting a boom in the industry, with the biggest prediction for sales being set to hit a record-high $889.7 billion, according to the Nestle Professional’s insight. The significant increase in projected sales indicates a period of huge growth. New customer trends and innovative business strategies like the integration of AI and smart kitchen equipment contributed significantly to the resurgence in 2023 and will also contribute to this boom.
The industry’s agility in responding well to the customers’ demands reflects well on the overall success of the sector; there is an increasing emphasis on unique dining experiences, health-conscious menus, and technological advancements. With these innovations, the industry is evolving to meet the demands of a more diverse and modern client base.
- Geographic Variations in Growth: The way your business will grow is tied to your location and customer base, while growth affects everyone in the industry. You should consider these details when updating your business plan for 2024. For example, In crowded cities, there is a lot of emphasis on the trends of technological advancements and new concepts like cloud kitchens (a.k.a. ghost kitchens), which are kitchens without any dining areas.
These trends reflect the urban consumer’s preferences for innovation and convenience. However, in rural areas and smaller towns, the focus can be on the trends of locally sourced, farm-to-table offerings. These reflect the preferences of rural consumers, which are authenticity and sustainability. You should get to know your base carefully before you make any fundamental changes.
To sum up, the food industry trends of 2024 will significantly grow the industry and provide you with golden opportunities to capitalize on to increase revenues and gain new customers. Incorporating AI-based technologies and innovative machinery into your kitchen will minimize friction and maintain a perfectly streamlined operation.
By investing in fusion cuisine, spice innovations, and eco-friendly and plant-based eating, you can transform your menu to match the trends of the year and stay ahead of the competition with your timely measures. While take-out is not as common as it used to be during the pandemic, it is still a massive business front you can’t neglect.
You should develop themes and events to attract more customers to dine on-site and pay attention to delivery systems to profit from both ends. Save this article for future reference, and don’t forget to update your kitchen and restaurant as much as possible at the beginning of the new year. Being able to follow and use foodservice trends will contribute to your longevity significantly.