What’s changing in the restaurant industry, and what will likely continue to change as years pass, is an apparent shift in demand coming from all sorts of customers, though a particular crowd of diners, the “millennial” bunch from around 18-30 years of age, is attracting extra attention. Demand shifts which can in part be linked to the millennial mind, though not entirely, involve costs and quality. More and more movers and shakers in the restaurant industry are looking for ways to serve up what’s on order, bypassing restaurant industry powerhouses with a different approach.
On the list of 2013’s trends, which will likely remain even in coming years, is an even greater consumer focus on finding locally sourced meat, seafood, and produce. The general public interest in the environmental impact of meals, whether made at home or purchased while dining out, may not necessarily be a new idea, though it certainly is becoming an even more important one. Particularly for restaurateurs who wish to stay in business. Concerns over children’s health and food sources for families, even on a tight budget, are reaching a new level of importance in the lives of consumers. Creatively presented and affordable foods are also in-demand, with pressure placed on restaurant owners increasing to please choosier consumers.
With an ever more calculated approach to dining out, and consumers considering more heavily where their money is spent, creative thinking has entered the scene to build a rapport with locals. From restaurant based gardens serving up local foods, to an interest in creating a positive impact versus simply profits (by designing or revamping a dining space for sustainability purposes, for example), restaurant owners can approach food service in an entirely new way if they’re ready to gear up for these industry changes. The franchise industry in particular has been turning to a new page with adapting food franchise concepts built to satisfy millennial tastes, consumers’ healthier preferences, and leave behind practices that generate unnecessary extra costs and no longer appeal to conscious consumers.
A major drain for the food industry remains a combination of cost increases, including higher labor, water, energy, and food prices. Droughts, floods, lack of production, and food waste continue to challenge the food industry as a whole, with 40% of food in America going unconsumed and entering landfills, according to the research article entitled “The Progressive Increase of Food Waste in America and Its Environmental Impact”. The integrity of food producers, on a local level where consumers frequent their favorite restaurants, bakeries, and cafes, is becoming the critical component that determines where dollars flow, rather than simply a focus on consistency, a changing industry-important concept that newer generations are redefining. The new definition of what constitutes a worthy local dining establishment where dollars can flow is now being defined, and this is changing and will continue to change the health of the food industry across the U.S.