Food Service Trends to Know in 2024

Incorporating food service trends brings in returning customers to see what’s new.

One way to stay ahead of the competition and move your restaurant forward from year to year is to stay on top of trends. While it’s important to stay true to who you are, knowing what people are looking for and providing it to them is equally vital.

In this article, we take a broad look at food service trends to know in 2024. You can use these to provide the best overall customer service experience and increase your bottom line from the previous year.

Trend: A Nod to Sustainability

According to one study, your customers care about sustainability. Consider these statistics from the study:

90% of people say sustainability matters to them.
Nearly 60% of people say that restaurant sustainability practices are somewhat influencing when choosing where to dine out.
About 60% of respondents think the food service industry has a significant environmental impact.

So, you can bet that one of the 2024 trends to look out for is sustainability practices. If you aren’t currently practicing them, you might consider adding a few. Here are some ideas:

Compost leftover food scraps and paper products. Many cities have companies providing composting services to restaurants.
Ditch the Styrofoam to-go packaging and look at compostable products. Use eco-friendly packaging to reduce your environmental impact.
Shop locally for in-season produce as well as cheese and meat.
Use organic ingredients.
Look for sustainable chocolate products since the demand for cocoa has resulted in deforestation.
Look at the palm oil products you use and make sure they aren’t harming wildlife. You can download a free app checker.
Offer vegetarian and plant-based options.

The key to showing you care about sustainability is top put some of these things into practice. Second, it’s showing your customers that you are doing it. (tweet this) For example, post it on your website and social media, put signs in your restaurant, and add it to your menus.

Trend: More Sophisticated Kids Menus

The kids can only have so much mac and cheese and chicken nuggets. Tastes are changing, and trends indicate that kids and their parents are looking for more elevated options. In addition, parents are looking for healthier options, too.

For example, consider items like pasta dishes with vegetables, fish tacos, more vegetables as sides, and less fried food.

Think nutritious, kid-friendly meals that are full of flavor, make the kids want to eat them, and make the parents feel good.

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Trend: Incorporating Global Flavors

Diners today are looking for an experience when they go out to eat. They want ambiance and food that takes them away from their everyday lives. This means exciting and intriguing dishes from around the globe. (tweet this)

Look to your chef for some inspiration. For example, bring in the nationalities of your chef and sous chefs. Think multi-cultural fare. Get creative and add some fusion cuisine.

This is the place to harness your creativity and bring in some global influence into your dishes.

Trend: Add in Some Sour

McCormick has designated tamarind as the flavor of the year for 2024. Tamarind is a spice that comes to us from Africa, India, and the Middle East. It has an acidic, tangy, sour, sweet flavor, and you can find it in Latin, Caribbean, and Mexican cuisine.

Use it in drinks, dishes, chutneys, and more. You’ll love it paired with coconut in both sweet and savory dishes.

This goes along with the trend toward global flavors, and it’s worth a shot in your own restaurant.

Provide your customers with the trends they’re looking for and watch your restaurant grow.

Trend: More on Mushrooms

With the move toward meat substitutes, many chefs are looking to their favorite fungi.

Mushrooms are a solid meat replacement and can be used in virtually any dish. You can even try growing your own in your restaurant garden.

Think about making mushroom meatballs, veggie dishes with mushrooms, mushroom burgers, mushroom tacos, mushroom sides, and more. Again, get creative and try using mushrooms in anything you might use meat.

Trend: Healthy Options

More and more people are looking at their long-term health. They want nutritious options even when they go out to eat.

With nearly 40% of people saying they eat out at least once a week, it’s a good idea to provide healthy options and nutrition information on your menu.

Consider incorporating low-carb, plant-based, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Many people want to eat out, but they don’t want to blow their diets when they do it. So, you can also offer smaller plates for people who are counting calories.

Be transparent with your menus. Let people know where you source your beef, fish, chicken, cheese, and veggies. Finally, let diners know the nutritional information for each dish so they can make an informed decision about what to order.

Trend: More Technology

Like with most everything, there is a trend toward technology in food service. This may show up in a variety of areas, including:

Point of sale systems
Back of house
Front of house
Digital menus
Contactless ordering
Mobile apps
Pay at the table.
Artificial intelligence in the form of data analytics to personalize menus and marketing for customers.
Online delivery

When it comes to technology, do what works for your restaurant and your customer base.

Final Thoughts on Food Service Trends

Food service trends are important for your restaurant’s success. It pays to stay on top of the latest trends and implement the right ones in your restaurant. While not every trend will work for every business, there are at least a couple you can take on.

Adapt to trends but stay true to your brand. And don’t forget that great food, superb customer service, and a personalized experience are key to keeping your tables full.

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Images: Lefteris kallergis and Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash 

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