Ghost kitchens might take the prize as the hottest dining trend to watch right now, but it’s not the only one poised to make an impact on the restaurant industry in the coming months. As this week ends and another year begins, here’s a roundup of a few more 2020 restaurant predictions from around the web.
More robots will deliver your dinner. “Robots” in this context mean everything from autonomous vehicles a la Nuro to smaller wheeled bots that rove around city streets and college campuses. And it’s those types of places — densely populated areas with plenty of foot traffic and sidewalks — where we’ll see more food delivery bots in 2020. The folks at Nation’s Restaurant News recently highlighted the work of both Domino’s and Postmates in this area, looking at how delivery robots are “fundamentally” changing those companies’ business models and will in all likelihood have a ripple effect across the entire restaurant industry.
More pressure to reduce food waste. From monitoring how much inventory goes into the trash to new laws for the dining room, waste reduction initiatives will abound in 2020. “Demonstrating to customers that preventing food waste is a priority—including through donating to local partners or teaming with a local farmer to compost non-edible food waste—further extends the sustainability halo effect on the restaurant’s brand,”Suzanne Cohen, Customer Marketing Manager, Essity Professional Hygiene, told Modern Restaurant Management.
The tech stack will get streamlined. If 2019 was the year restaurant operators adopted new technologies in droves, 2020 will be the year they start to choose their tools more strategically. “While there are always new solutions being released to help combat issues in the restaurant industry, operators will focus on streamlining technology in 2020 in order to make the lives of manager and their teams more efficient—allowing them to establish a better work environment as well as focus on creating positive guest experiences every single day,” David Cantu, cofounder and chief customer officer of HotSchedules, told QSR Magazine.
Operators will try to to offset off-premises ordering. Off-premises ordering isn’t going anywhere — in fact, it’s going to drive the bulk of restaurant sales over the next decade. However, as Technomic notes, in 2020, we’ll see more restaurant operators “employ creative means to drive in-store traffic,” whether that’s more loyalty programs, dine-in promotions, or front-of-house tech. “Off-premise occasions will continue to flourish,” says Technomic, “but 2020’s traffic battle will also bring on a flurry of counteractive efforts by operators. “