It is true that trends are never here to stay; they come and go. But we’re living in those strange pockets of time when trends can become a new way of life. A global health pandemic, a shift in the collective consciousness, and unstable economic conditions the world over have birthed together some business trends that are soon becoming the rule, not the exception. Diverse food delivery options, innovation in business expansion, extensive online ordering, assemble-your-meal popup stores, and many similar others have underlined restaurant startup trends in recent years. But which trends have been the most impactful, the most promising?
We believe, these three:
- Sustainable business practices
- Ghost/cloud kitchens
- Restaurant tech
Let us explore these three in some detail.
1. Sustainable Business Practices
Millennials joined the fight for sustainability more than a decade ago and Gen Z has amplified it. The concept of sustainable restaurant business has evolved much over the years. It’s not about wastage and environmental impact anymore. It also won’t be achieved by just designing a green restaurant logo design or posting about it on social media.
The refined idea of a sustainable restaurant startup includes:
- Ensuring living wage for restaurant employees
- Ethical business practices
- Cruelty-free sourcing of food ingredients
- Making serious efforts to tackle high restaurant staff turnover
- Transparency in prices, costs, and kitchen sanitization
- Offering variety in ordering and delivery options
And so much more. As consumers start to become more conscious and educated about choices available to them, count on the fact that only the restaurants and food startups that are excited and serious about a sustainable approach will survive. Taking care of health protocols, making sincere efforts to combat kitchen waste, and addressing questionable workplace practices towards employees (discrimination, ‘hazing’, and more) can be some values that distinguish you from the rest.
If you are planning to launch your food startup, make sustainability your USP.
2. Ghost/Cloud Kitchens
One of our three restaurant startup trends that took the industry by storm was the mushrooming of ghost kitchens. The name may be sinister but the concept behind it is actually genius. A ghost kitchen is referred to a food establishment that does not offer any seating or dine-in options. It’s literally just a kitchen that you could order food from for either delivery or pickup. You could also go to these restaurants, order your food, and eat it in your car.
Ghost or cloud kitchens have drastically cut the overhead costs and have become the favorites of restaurant startup founders. There is a limited risk, reduced costs, and mad potential to evolve and expand. With the right strategy, enough funding, and a solid business plan, your ghost kitchen can serve as the foundation to become something much more.
Bamboo Asia, a Japanese, Vietnamese, and Indian restaurant in San Francisco used its ghost kitchen unit to figure out how and when to expand. Before closing down due to COVID-19, the restaurant was operating out from 4 locations and is now offering fresh meal-kits for its customers, sous-vide style.
3. Restaurant Tech
With AI entering the arena, restaurant tech is changing like never before. We are seeing robots, cash-less POS stations, and whatnot entering the restaurant and food industry. And these changes aren’t passive. Restaurant startups are actively seeking out technologies that can help them beat the competition to the curb. The restaurant tech expansion is not limited to online ordering any more.
The restaurant digitization is happening both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house. While the tech solutions in food industry have traditionally been focused on front-end (online orders, restaurant apps, and such), business-end solutions are now taking center stage.
One-stop-shop restaurant management software programs that can take care of everything from order management to inventory tracking, and from POS to insights and marketing, are gaining traction among restaurant startup founders. These extensive digital solutions allow entrepreneurs and chefs to keep their focus on reimagining food while the tech will take care of the business side.
Restaurant management software such as Toast, Restaurant365, Upserve, and others are all designing technologies that allow restaurants to provide a smooth and frictionless dining experience to all their guests. For a more thorough list of restaurant tech programs, you can check this link out.
A Parting Word
The restaurant industry has not been immune to the changes taking place on the global stage. Consumers are becoming more conscious, technology is evolving at a dizzying pace, and the human race is fast adapting to a new normal. These are exciting times to not only champion change for good but become pioneers by embracing restaurant startup trends that can become better lifestyle practices.
As you prepare your pitch for your upcoming food startup venture, do not forget to list consciousness, technology, and innovation as three tiers of your business strategy. Remember, fate rewards the bold; so, take charge.