2018 is off with a bang: Restaurants across the country are living the “new year, new me” philosophy, incorporating new tastes, techniques, and tactics behind the bar, on the line, and within their overall restaurant operations strategy. With a lot of the year left to go, the restaurant community is keen on identifying food and technology trends that carried on from 2017, or emerged during the first weeks of 2018, and determining how they might impact the industry over the next eleven months.

Though the restaurant industry is as unpredictable and fast-paced as they come, there’s a lot to be learned from the hits and misses made by fellow businesses within the community. Analyzing user preference to make predictions about what will be popular tomorrow, next week, next month, next year even, is a strategy you need to adapt to keep your restaurant afloat well past the oft-plagued one year mark.

Restaurant food and tech predictions

Industry-Wide 2018 Restaurant Food Predictions

1) Easier Grocery Shopping From Home

“Techno-foodology and Artificial Intelligence are the best things to ever happen to a grocery store. Alexa, Google Home, Sonos, and other home-based assistants are ushering in a new way to buy our foods. We can easily replenish our foods by asking Alexa to reorder from Amazon. And just last week, one of the nation’s leading c-stores, Sheetz, announced that its “made to order foods” from all 564 stores can be ordered on Alexa. By 2020, there will be 55 million smart devices in our homes, making that the biggest supermarket chain on the planet.”

– Forbes, 10 Food Trends That Will Shape 2018

2) Fine Casual Shows Up to the Party

“Fine-casual. Coined by Danny Meyer to describe Shake Shack, AF&Co., says, ‘Think upscale counter-service — and even table service — with curated ingredients and unexpected touches like a wine bar and optional tasting menu.’”

– NRN, 15 Food and Beverage Trends to Expect in 2018

3) Food Sourcing and Labeling Will Matter More

food labelling

“Transparency 2.0: More is more when it comes to product labelling Consumers want to know the real story behind their food, and how that item made its way from the source to the store. GMO transparency is top-of-mind, but shoppers seek out other details, too, such as Fair Trade certification, responsible production and animal welfare standards. At Whole Foods Market, this plays out in several ways, starting with these three happening in 2018:

  1. In January 2018, all canned tuna in our stores will come from sustainable one-by-one catch methods;
  2. In September 2018, labels will provide GMO transparency on all food items in stores;
  3. Dishes from Whole Foods Market food bars and venues are now labelled with calorie information.”

– Whole Foods Blog, Top Food Trends for 2018

2018 Restaurant Technology Predictions

Like any industry, advancements in the restaurant world are contingent on the changes the rest of the world has seen. Restaurant kiosks, for example, could not be engineered in their current state until the proper touchscreen technology was invented.

In that light, we think it’s important to highlight general technology trends for the upcoming year so you can know how this may affect your business in the future.

Drone

1) Drones Take Flight, Self-Driving Cars Speed Up

“BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has put together a list of 35 Big Tech Predictions for 2018 across Apps and Platforms, Digital Media, Payments, Internet of Things, E-Commerce, Fintech, and Transportation & Logistics. Some of these major predictions include:

  • Cryptocurrencies will become more widely accepted
  • Google and Apple will challenge Amazon in the smart speaker space
  • The resurgence of the VR market
  • The real self-driving car race will begin
  • Drone regulations will relax
  • Alibaba’s international expansion
  • Gen Z will become a major focal point for media companies and advertisers
  • Payment security will become paramount
  • Smart home devices will take off”

– Business Insider, 35 Big Tech Predictions for 2018

2) Smart Everything? Maybe Not.

“Connecting all kinds of devices together using simple internet protocol connectivity standards was supposed to enable smart cities, smart homes, smart factories, heck, pretty much smart everything. And yet, here we stand at the dawn of 2018 and – with a few notable exceptions – very few of those things have really come to pass. In retrospect, it’s not really hard to see why. Just connecting things together doesn’t necessarily provide any real value, and even tapping into the new data sources enabled by IoT hasn’t proven to be as fruitful as many had hoped.”

– Seeking Alpha, Top Tech Predictions For 2018

3) Serverless Computing

Serverless computing takes off. This one is easy to make. It’s bubbling like a cauldron, with tremendous interest, and development is racing along. Once people get past the misleading name and realize its benefits, it will take off.”

– Network World, Tech Predictions for 2018


This guest post was submitted by Karen DeVincent, PR Manager for Toast, Inc. Toast is an all-in-one restaurant management platform and point of sale system. Be sure to check out the Toast Blog for tips on employee management, marketing, industry tips, and more.

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