Restaurants play an important part in our lives. Yet, we give them little thought. When we decide to go out for dinner or to stop for a quick lunch, we just assume there will be a place nearby that will be satisfactory. Restaurant owners try very hard to accommodate that need. But, who is determining what is “satisfactory?” Who says when you have accomplished your task?

Food preference

According to a study conducted by, there have been significant changes in the eating patterns both in the way people are eating and the foods they are selecting. This changes the way people view and select their dining establishments. These changes include, but are not limited to:

• Clean eating. For the first time, clean eating has made its way into this annual study. Clean eating is explained as foods that are fresh and natural. The foods contain as little processing additives as possible.

• Brand loyalty. People are leaning toward brands they know and trust. They are also limiting foods with ingredients they are unfamiliar with.

• Interest in plant-based foods is high

• Trust in government agencies to keep people safe from food danger is high

• Consumers are looking for food to help them manage health issues.

We can see that health is an important issue for today’s decision-makers. While in the learning curve, people would continue to frequent fast-food places and try to find healthier choices. But this does not mean that people will keep going to the burger joint or the pizza place and eat from the salad bar. They expected the food industry to keep up with their food choices. The trends you saw in 2019 are the results of the food industry stepping up and accepting that challenge. Let’s look at the results of cutting edge restaurant management systems, and state of the art technology.

Ghost Restaurants

Ghost restaurants are also known as delivery-only restaurants. Customers cannot pick-up their orders because there is no storefront for them to drive to. Orders are placed via the internet and delivered by a third party delivery service. Ghost restaurants are a big hit in very populated areas. The menus are based on what is fresh and available. Often Ghost restaurants will stay with a dish that sells well and from time to time will offer a different variety or type of that dish.

As this trend continues, AI (artificial intelligence) will play a larger part in the restaurant industry. For example, the AI oven will be pre-programmed to effectively cook a meal. It will work like a convection oven, dehydrator, air fryer, slow cooker, and more. As the demands of the customer are learned the AI of the machines needed will determine the future of the modern restaurant kitchen.

Plant-Based Cuisine

Plant-based cuisine which is also known as vegan-based food is on the rise. Restaurant owners noticed the demand for more plant-based dishes and fewer meat-based meals. This is not a trend started only by animal lovers. Consumers that follow this trend feel plant-based food is better or their bodies, better for the animals, and better for the environment overall. Their voice is being heard.

Burger King has gotten on board with their “Impossible burger” which is meatless and Little Caesars is testing out another product made by Impossible Foods, Meatless Sausage Crumbles.

Elegance once more

If you were to look in 2008 and 2009 you would see that any restaurant being built or remodeled was being built on the cheap. Low cost, low quality, and low maintenance were the catchphrases of the year. However, in 2019 the opposite is true.

Restaurants being built in these later months of 2019 and early 2020 are elegant, lush, and well designed. These establish you are proud to enter. They are large and lovely and the food is and will be incredible. As 2019 quickly fades away it will leave luxury in its exit.

No restaurant is untouched for the past few years. McDonald’s has begun installing video machines to take orders and process payments. While you may miss the scratchy voice on the speaker, you have a better chance of getting your order correct. As predicted, 2019 was a year to watch. But, it is not over yet. Keep an eye on 2020. There is still more to come.