Restaurant Industry Trends

Restaurant Industry Trends for 2018

Researching Restaurant Industry Trends for 2018 lead to some incredible insight into how creative this industry is. As one of the more popular industries in our space, restaurants are adapting in several innovative ways to appeal to the modern consumer. It’s a constant challenge to build a concept that fulfills every generations’ personality and the individual’s taste in food. Here are some key areas of influence that the restaurant industry is utilizing to appeal to a vast consumer base.


One interesting trend is a restaurant that is not a restaurant at all. Called Ghost Restaurants, these establishments follow a model that is just a kitchen and built for making and delivering food right to the consumer. This provides a layer of scalability in that the restaurant owner is not required to lease a large location to accommodate dine-in guests. There is also less costs for a complete, modern build out meant to lure in potential restaurant patrons. Utility costs, such as keeping a large restaurant cool during the summer are reduced along payroll expenses in that a large service staff is not needed.

Also delivery services through companies such as UberEats, DoorDash, Postmates, etc cater to the diner who prefers to eat great food while still being able to work or wants to eat in the quiet, cozy atmosphere in their home. Order fulfillment is certainly not perfect yet as there is not always enough drivers to handle an extra busy food rush, but as a restaurant owner, catering to the diner who prefers convenience is certainly a must going forward.


Arguably one of the biggest challenges for a restaurant owner this day in age is not only cooking GREAT food, but making food that meets the specific standards of each individual is complex. Think of the current trending diets – gluten free, plant-based, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, keto, etc. – and the chef that must meet the demands of their patrons, but also not break the budget of the restaurant.

Are you losing diners because you’re food is NOT certified-Organic? Are there generational trends that your menu is missing? There is no question now that the trend is towards healthier foods and advertising your menu as non-GMO or gluten free as a couple of examples.

Reaching beyond the trendy farm-to-table moniker, some restaurant owners have gone so far as to grow and display their own produce on-site so that restaurant patrons can see first hand that they are eating truly organic food that is free of chemicals & preservatives. This trend called hyper-local sourcing is of great appeal to the growing health-conscious foodie generation.


Whether it’s fine-casual, fast-casual, or quick-serve restaurants, this concept has been growing for several years. A consumer walks into a restaurant, scans the menu and orders from the counter. Who would’ve thought that the fast-food concept would become a mainstream model for restaurant industry?

This simplifies and speeds-up the dining experience for the restaurant operator and the patron. It eliminates the expense of large service staff while still providing a dining in experience. It is a bit more work for the customer in that they refill their own water cup and get their own silverware, but it seems to be the preferable type of dining-in today.

Environmental Impact

Reducing food waste has become a hot button recently. In lieu of discarding uneaten meals and food into landfills, some restaurants have partnered with an app called FoodforAll and are selling their meals for as little as $3 or at least 50% off of the listed price. Today 40% of food is going uneaten and ending up in a landfill and the environmental impact of the greenhouse gases that are released contribute to changes in our climate.

Some chefs are creatively cooking with a “root to stem” concept that uses an entire piece of produce in entrees and side dishes. One example is using the tough woody stems of asparagus to make a vegetable stock. Also carrot tops can be used as a substitute for cilantro and/or parsley. Additionally, many restaurants are starting do their own composting to reduce the amount of food waste ending up in a landfill.


How often do we hear the word automation these days? We can now order food on an app specific to a particular restaurant and earn reward points in doing so. Some fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Shake Shack have kiosks onsite where you can order food when you walk-in instead of waiting in line.

There are new, innovative location-based marketing strategies like Google allowing restaurants to embed their menus in search results instead of clicking on a link. This type of advertising hits the searcher front and center with nearby food choices. There is also location tagging on social media which allows the restaurant to market to users who are in a certain area.

For the more creative marketers out there, creating a social media buzz around a certain menu item with hashtags, celebrity endorsements, and strategic tagging is perfect for attracting a certain niche of foodies or creating demand in general for a restaurant.

Given these unique ideas from various restaurant owners, there may be some room to adapt your concept, your marketing strategy, your food selections, and/or the convenience with which your customer can order food. A little bit of research into the key demographics of your location will highlight what logical decisions can lead to the continued success of your restaurant.

Should you find that implementing these strategies would help your restaurant, we would love to hear from you. And we can help you find the business funding you need to help you grow and sustain your restaurant’s success.