According to analysts interviewed by Restaurant Dive, the impact of these movements — along with evolving consumer expectations for menu solutions, dining experience and convenience — will intensify in 2019. To overcome these obstacles and stand out from competitors, experts predict that restaurants will double down on digital offerings and continue to experiment with new brick-and-mortar configurations for quick-service formats.
“For the restaurant sector as a whole, we don’t expect much growth in ,” David Portalatin, vice president and food industry analyst at the NPD Group, told Restaurant Dive. “But you will see individuals succeed because they’re taking part in digital strategies, [new] meal solutions…and experience differentiation.”
Here are the six trends expected to spark major restaurant storylines in 2019.
Though only 2.8 million (or about 5%) of the 61 million restaurant orders made annually occur online today, according to NPD Group research, this channel’s potential has spurred investments from restaurants across categories. And while this digital push is shaping everything from point-of-sale systems — such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s rollout of self-service kiosks — to reservation processes, delivery is arguably experiencing the most powerful transformation.
“One of the fundamental truths of how we eat in America today is that we increasingly want to consume our food at home — 50% of dinner meals purchased from a restaurant are actually consumed at home,” Portalatin said.
A host of mobile food delivery apps such as DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats have cropped up to meet this consumer demand for fast, frictionless meal solutions. These apps are also meeting diners where they’re already at — according to a report from BRP Consulting and Windstream Enterprises, mobile devices facilitated or supplemented 38% of dining experiences, whether that be through pre-ordering, checking reviews or sharing pictures online of their meal.