TOP 13 trends in the restaurant business in 2021

Restaurant trends are changing rapidly, this is due to the introduction of quarantine measures in different countries. Now most of the revenue comes from the delivery of orders and with you. We will conduct a review of the restaurant market and talk about how technologies have changed the restaurant market, which services are already available in our countries, and which have not taken root.

What will happen to the restaurant business in 2021
With the onset of quarantine, people are forced to stay in houses and restaurants to let them in. New trends in the restaurant establishment remain afloat and will not close. For example, several pizza chains in the United States have hired more than a thousand employees due to the increase in demand after the opening of pizza delivery. The establishments that could not reformat for delivery have closed, and even among the establishments that remain open, the decline in sales is felt very strongly.

We have compiled data from surveys conducted by McKinsey at the end of March across Europe and the United States. In particular, this applies to the cost of delivering food and drinks at mealtimes. At the same time, polls in China show that after the pandemic, people are likely to spend more on food delivery, and it is also likely that the demand for delivery will quickly return to pre-crisis levels.

Find out more in our McKinsey Research article for in-depth surveys and restaurant trends in 2021.

Now about the trends that will affect the restaurant business in 2021.

  1. Delivery and takeaway food
    Food delivery from a restaurant is the most important and relevant trend in recent years and will only intensify in 2021 due to quarantine restrictions. Especially if you plan to open a sushi bar or pizzeria, this option is just a must-have. Without it, it will be difficult to compete and, accordingly, quickly reach payback. The use of this system by the delivery module will be a significant plus when launching the option in an institution.

The culture of food delivery and Internet services is evolving at an incredibly fast pace., Uber Eats, Caviar apps are some of the most popular in the food industry in the world. In addition to the usual delivery establishments, the number of orders from “virtual” restaurants is growing, which do not accept exclusively offline guests and prepare exclusively for delivery. One of the new ideas on the market is “hubs” for virtual establishments: kitchens of different establishments under one roof, autonomous cars ply between them, picking up orders and delivering them to customers. This reduces the cost of the establishments and makes the delivery more affordable for the visitors.

Variety of channels and delivery methods

Millennials and Gen Z are priority audiences for delivery services. Namely, in comparison with other generations. They also make the highest demands: instant delivery, gamification, individual approach and tracking of the delivery process.

To meet the needs of their customers, delivery services introduce new technologies and simplify the ordering mechanism as much as possible. You can order on social networks, using virtual assistants and the car’s navigation system.
For example, in the USA, pizza from Pizza Hut can be ordered and paid directly from the digital menu of the machine, and from Domino’s Pizza – simply by retweeting the pizza emoji. The same Pizza Hut released a digital menu that determines the focus of the customer’s eyes and offers the best pizza ingredients from 4,896 combinations in just 2.5 seconds.

In Russia, with the help of the voice assistant Alice, you can order food from the Papa John’s pizzeria and cookery from the Azbuka Vkusa. Moscow also launched the Skipz app, a service that allows drivers to order and receive food from restaurants without leaving their car.

In 2018, leading delivery platforms finally began addressing this pain of restaurateurs – GrubHub announced integrations with five popular inventory systems, and UberEats decided to purchase orderTalk online booking system to leverage their checkout integration experience. Software integration will automatically send orders for delivery to the store’s accounting system and receive all operational data from all sales channels in one place. Using your own delivery automation software integrated into the accounting system for a cafe or restaurant also greatly simplifies the process.

If you start organizing your own delivery service, you can save money by not spending it on aggregator shipping fees, which is important when the budget is limited. With delivery automation, you will be able to control couriers, see the revenue from your delivery orders and develop delivery services by expanding the staff and delivery map.

  1. Multichannel
    The trend of the last few years in retail, when large offline stores are switching to online sales and vice versa, as shown by Amazon. Multichannel in public catering is also a combination of online and offline sales. Most offline establishments that have already adopted this, effectively use their resources to increase sales, inviting customers not only to visit the establishment, but also order food at home, or place an order and pick it up themselves.

For example, if you use the Poster restaurant automation system, then you can connect the Poster Shop, a fully integrated online storefront for your establishment, and start accepting online orders. In Poster, you will be able to fully track the order from its acceptance from the website to the delivery of the order to the client, view sales statistics and control the work of couriers, see more details about automating your delivery service.

  1. Casual segment and healthy food
    More and more fast-casual restaurants are opening up, a popular format for those who love healthy food but don’t like to wait long. In such establishments, guests receive food that is close in quality to expensive restaurants for little money, and the service here is slightly better than in fast food.
  2. Automation and digitalization
    Every year the number of the working-age population in Russia decreases by 250-300 thousand. In Ukraine, the number is much smaller, but there is a problem of labor migration to the nearest European countries. The market for potential HoReCa employees is getting smaller, and no one wants to increase spending on the salary fund. The search and retention of personnel has become one of the main problems in the catering market.

Because of this, an automation trend is developing in the world – more and more restaurateurs are integrating with technologies to optimize the speed of service and save on labor costs. According to the National Restaurant Association of the United States, about 41% of fast food establishments in the United States use tablets, desktop ordering systems, self-service kiosks and automated programs for restaurants.

Self-service kiosks
This is a trend for fast food and fast casual formats. In fact, the cashier becomes an extra link in establishments of this format, and restaurateurs are trying to replace him and minimize costs. This option is safer during quarantine, since there is no crowding near the cash register.

Cloud services
The tendency to store the data of the institution not on its own server in the institution, but in the cloud is gaining momentum more and more. Restaurateurs want full access to operational data and analytics from anywhere in the world, rather than being dependent on a single workplace. Not only tablet systems work in the cloud, traditional stationary automation systems have begun to offer storing data on more secure remote servers.

  1. QR codes
    More and more restaurants are moving away from using paper menus because it is unsafe. The QR code menu is convenient to use because no additional equipment is needed. Place the sticker on the table in the restaurant and the guest will scan the menu with their smartphone. use this technology so that the guest can pay for the order using a smartphone.

A QR code can contain different information: menu, delivery terms, restaurant history or personal loyalty card data. Using the code, you can also create a note in the calendar with a promotion or event that will be in the institution, or you can simply redirect the visitor to the reviews page.
There is another practical use for codes. For example, Poster’s latest integration with an app that helps guests call a waiter or request an invoice after scanning a QR code. Place a sign on each table or glue stickers on the menu. Visitors can scan the code with the camera and call the waiter or ask for the bill in the browser window that opens.

  1. Franchises
    More franchised establishments. Aspiring entrepreneurs do not want to risk their project, so starting a business on a successful and stable model looks much more tempting, as evidenced by the statistics of open catering establishments.
  2. Monoproduct
    Less universal restaurants “sushi – pizza – hookah – karaoke”. More and more often, guests prefer to such establishments more narrowly focused cafes, pizzerias or hookah bars – places where their favorite dishes are prepared really tasty.

Fewer people are willing to be content with average quality in such supermarket restaurants, often for the same money as in cozy, atmospheric establishments. Hence the conclusion that it is worth focusing on monoproducts: burgers, pizzerias, etc.

  1. Pastries and sweets
    More bakeries and pastry shops. Fresh baked goods are in demand all year round, and such establishments can be placed both in residential areas and on central streets with high traffic.

craft drinks

  1. Craft drinks and meals
    An interesting and fresh crafting trend in everything: dishes, glasses and drinks. This is not only a trendy phenomenon, but also a creative approach to reduce costs. Prices for imported products in Russia and Ukraine are constantly growing, and by the end of 2020 the difference had already become almost 3 times. A couple of years ago, restaurateurs who wanted to stay on the market revised their menu options and tried to switch to those products that they could afford in the new conditions.

The fall in national currencies led to an internal reorganization of restaurants and an active redesign of the menu. But it also became the reason for the transition to local products, and not only the economy, but also the premium segment.

Local products are a great alternative to imported counterparts. If before restaurateurs rarely looked in the direction of local farmers, now their time has come. Taking into account the unaffordable prices, the previously inflated prices of local producers now look like extremely profitable cooperation.
A large number of new breweries have appeared and even craft brandy, whiskey, gin and, of course, liqueurs, many different types. Now only the laziest does not add a couple of types of strong “home” alcohol to the bar map. The tinctures themselves are most often made on the basis of vodka or the same craft whiskey with the addition of various juices and syrups. Served both hot and cold, depending on the season. The cost of such a portion of 50 grams is 15-20 rubles (5-6 hryvnias), and on the menu they are exhibited in the region of 100-150 rubles (35-50 hryvnias).

  1. National and regional cuisine
    A trend that has firmly “settled” in our country. In many cities of Russia and Ukraine, restaurants of national and local cuisine are opening in rather interesting interpretations: a coffee house, a pub, a pastry shop and fast food.

Georgian cuisine is especially popular. Almost every second restaurant of national cuisine, opened in 2020, is Georgian. Khachapuri, khinkali, suluguni in lavash, dolma, lobio, khinkali and kharcho – all this is very tasty, understandable to the guest and easy to prepare from local products in our countries.
Now is a good time to open small, family-run and soulful restaurants with delicious food. For example, as a family from a small town in Kazakhstan did it – the story of the opening of The Beze cafe. Due to competition and increased rentals, fashionable “designer” restaurants are gradually leaving the market, where names were made by interior designers, but not by chefs. At a time when investors were still able to pay for it. Now, people are no longer ready to take such risks.


  1. Robotization in restaurants
    For some reason, many believe that robots are still a distant future. In fact this is not true. Now robots are divided into:

front of the house – work with guests;

back of the house – close tasks in the kitchen.

There are still more examples of the latter: robotic hands that fry burgers (Miso Robotics), or machines that prepare salads to go (Spyce). Such technologies

allow you to achieve the same product quality in chain establishments. Robots for work in the gym are so far used less often and look very strange. For example, Bear Robotics has a robot that replaces bassboys in restaurants.

Robotics is considered as one of the most effective methods for solving personnel problems in the future. This is not about replacing AI people, but rather about optimizing the most understandable areas of employee work.

Gym robots are used less frequently. One of the latest innovations, which was presented at the last NRA Show in Chicago, is the Penny 2 robot (Bear Robotics). He knows how to move along narrow corridors, navigate the crowd, deliver food and pick up dirty dishes. The new model has a tablet with which you can take orders and communicate with the guest.

Ono Food Company plans to launch the world’s first fully automated restaurant on wheels in Los Angeles with robots and technology for food preparation and ordering. In Russia and Ukraine, the technology situation is not developing as quickly as in the United States: self-service kiosks and robots are still far from being a massive phenomenon.

Nevertheless, many establishments already work with cloud-based accounting systems, waiters use a smartphone or tablet instead of a notebook with a pencil, and there are screens with orders in the kitchens.

  1. Face recognition
    Self-service kiosks can also be smart: identify a guest by face, offer him to repeat the previous order, and then automatically write off money from the card. For example, in experimental mode, Face ID works on the Cali Burger network.
  2. Supplier aggregators
    “From the farmer to the table.” Increasingly health conscious guests want quality local produce and know where and how they were grown, how they were transported and how they all affect the environment. Against the backdrop of such changes in consumer behavior, marketplaces are emerging that connect farmers and geo-referenced restaurants.

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