2023 may seem far away, but now is the ideal time for foodservice operators and franchisors to begin thinking about the future of flavor trends and the changing landscapes in food culture. With the help of advanced consumer data, it’s possible to look beyond the present and plan better for both local tastes and preferences and the overall changes in the food industry.
In today’s competitive foodservice market, trends that may provide advantages to restaurants and catering businesses include leveraging the power of advanced consumer data. This data can help draw insights on the regional palate, providing valuable insights into what will be popular a few years from now. Additionally, it can help identify what is missing in current trends, allowing the company to create unique offerings that will distinguish it from the competition.
Trends in flavor are determined largely by the interrelationship between the ingredients used in popular dishes and regional access to them. Take, for example, the current trend in farm-to-table dining, which largely relies on locally-sourced ingredients. Understanding local harvest and production seasons can help a business plan menus for the future.
Gone are the days of restaurant-goers choosing from a predetermined menu. Increasingly, customers are expecting unique offerings based on their dietary needs and food preferences. In the booming technology landscape of 2023, restaurant operators are armed with the tools to better market to their customers and build loyalty by customizing menu items to suit individual needs.
Greater access to technology also means access to more diverse ingredients, such as plant-based proteins and alternative seasonal ingredients. Customers expect a lot more than just a “vegan” menu item, but something unique and flavorful that will bring them back. As such, restaurant operators should consider experimenting with ingredients that aren’t always available outside of the restaurant.
Technology can also help reduce waste, an area of great concern in the industry. By leveraging data to adjust production, restaurants can better serve customers while at the same time saving resources. Additionally, data can help to identify how orders are used, which can lead to greater efficiency when prepping meals and ultimately better profits margins.
At the same time, customers’ expectations of service have evolved. Expectations now include a pleasant dining experience with conversile and informative, yet discreet staff. Using data, restaurants are able to keep track of customer preferences and how they want to be served while still providing a personalized and unique experience.
In 2023, foodservice operators must be prepared for ever-changing trends. By utilizing data-driven insights, restaurants and catering businesses are able to remain ahead of the curve and predict new trends as they emerge. These insights can be used to build the perfect menu that is attuned to local fads and regional favorites, all while providing a unique dining experience for customers.