With the help of our Yelp community that contributed more than 21 million new reviews over the past year, Yelp is releasing its 2021 trend forecast highlighting what’s shaping the world of food, beauty, travel, home and beyond.
Yelp’s data science team used review data to find words and phrases that were rising the most significantly between 2019 and 2020, in a manner indicative of further growth, to help predict what Yelpers will be looking for and writing about in 2021. Additionally, Yelp Trend Expert Tara Lewis provided her insights on the hottest trends for the year ahead.
The following are the platform’s top trends in restaurants and food:
- Digital Dining and Restaurant Technology – 2020 saw restaurants embrace new technologies, such as menu QR codes, in the name of food safety in the age of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Groceries – Another way restaurants adapted to the coronavirus was by adapting their pantries into mini-grocery stores. Restaurants will continue to create unconventional takeout opportunities, letting customers “shop” from their supply for essentials like toilet paper and wine.
- Meal Kits and Catering To-Go – In response to local health and safety guidelines restricted traditional dining, restaurants moved to offer meal kits and catering to-go for customers.
- New Takes on Takeout – In 2020, consumers took #TakeoutTuesday to the next level and spiced things up with Indian and Thai food.
- Gratitude – Mentions of gratitude and thankfulness in reviews peaked in April as many took a minute to express gratitude at the businesses that kept us fed amid this year of uncertainty.
- Birria – This juicy, spiced meat stew comes from the state of Jalisco, Mexico. This year, it made waves in the food truck scene and in the year ahead, will show up in traditional birria tacos and spins like birria quesadillas.
- Detroit-Style Pizza – The regional pizza style has gone national. It features a rectangular pizza with a thick, airy crust that is crispy and chewy.
- Hard Seltzer – Spiked seltzer continued its meteoric rise in 2020, with popular beer brands like Bud Light and Coors Light getting in on the trend.
- Hot Honey – Hot honey provides a fresh spin on old favorite foods.
- Fried Chicken – Japanese, Korean and Nashville hot chicken versions were all up in mentions this year.
- Japanese sandwiches – Fondly referred to as “sandos,” Japanese sandwiches have started to dominate menus and are making their way into photo feeds.
- Seafood Boils – This dining experience has proved to be fun for many this year.
- Boba – Also known as bubble tea, this year-round favorite drink will have new flavors like brown sugar emerge, as well as fusion desserts like boba flan, popsicles and ice cream.