The foodservice industry was in flux in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic raged on and businesses were forced to cut back on indoor dining space. The pandemic has tested the limits of operators, but it has also forced them to innovate.

As we head into 2021, this greatly influences foodservice trends that will be prevalent across the country. The National Restaurant Association is preparing to release its new State of the Restaurant Industry report, based on survey results from 6,000 operators (and featuring customer preferences from a survey of 1,000 adult consumers), so the Association is sharing its top 10 restaurant trends that helped and will continue to help foodservice establishments survive.

  1. Streamlined menus
  2. Off-premises foodservice (takeout, delivery)
  3. Blended meals (appetizers, sides or desserts purchased and served with home-cooked entrees)
  4. Bundled meals (meals consisting of an appetizer and/or side, entree, and dessert, available in either family packs or individual meals)
  5. Meal kits
  6. Meal subscriptions
  7. Selling groceries
  8. Alcohol-to-go
  9. Comfort foods
  10. Healthy and diet-specific food

“We now know that three things are certain: the pandemic tested the limits of operator creativity and knowhow, accelerated tech adoption and emerging trends, and confirmed that customers sorely miss their restaurant experiences,” the Association says.