6 Restaurant Experts Predict 2020 Trends

This article was originally posted by QSR and you can view the original post here.

With the year 2020 rapidly approaching, we are often left wondering how the restaurant industry is going to change and adapt to an environment that seems to be constantly shifting. An article posted on QSR states “There’s so much happening in the restaurant industry these days. From robots flipping urgers to AI in the drive-thru units that offer delivery without even opening restaurants, and so the conversation turns.”

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QSR went on to gather quotes from six restaurant industry experts to help us navigate the changes that we may see in 2020 and beyond! Here are some of the things that those experts said:

Jim Collins, CEO at Kitchen United

“Consumer adoption of on-demand cuisine in the location of their choosing continues to accelerate. This evolution has forced brands to adapt and innovate. We are in the early innings and believe we will see continued advances both in the business model and in technology, improving the delivery experience for each key audience – logistics, restaurants and most importantly, the consumer. I expect we’ll see big changes this year as financial markets shift and the businesses surrounding the off-premises market are forced to rationalize, but the consumer is speaking and I have no doubt that business will respond with new and better solutions.”

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GJ Hart, CEO at Torchy’s Tacos

“In 2020, I think attracting and retaining talent will continue to be a focus. This could be through things like educational benefits or other innovative programs, such as our managing partners program which allows managers to run their own locations. Also, while technology was a big topic in 2019, I think we’ll begin to see restaurants shift to using technology strategically but not at any cost.”

The topic of technology within the restaurant industry is interesting, to say the least, and I have no doubt that technology will be a huge focus in the industry for the year 2020. With rising labor costs, operators are going to have to begin turning to alternate forms of staffing and this could be a huge gap that an increase in technology and automation could fill. The next industry expert, David Cantu, will touch on this topic.

David Cantu, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer, HotSchedules, Now Powered by Fourth

“Developments in the restaurant technology space will continue influencing change in 2020. With employers having difficulty hiring and retaining staff as a result of the tight labor market, along with pressure to increase wages, another key focus next year will be finding, keeping, and growing talent. While there are always new solutions being released to help combat issues in the restaurant industry, operators will focus on streamlining technology in 2020 in order to make the lives of managers and their teams more efficient – allowing them to establish a better work environment as well as focus on creating positive guest experiences every single day.”

Andrew Shearer, Co-Founder and CEO at Farmshelf

“Reducing the amount of food waste will continue to trend in 2020. With consumers consciously selecting brands that have established sustainable practices, it’s become incredibly important for foodservice and restaurant operators to implement programs to lessen food waste.”

Bruce Dean, CEO, Black Bear Diner

“Bringing guests in the door and addressing labor issues will continue to be challenges in 2020, but these challenges will offer restaurants the opportunity for a continued-and relentless- focus on the guest experience and creating rewarding environments for employees. Off-premises and delivery gained a lot of traction in the last year, but hospitality and delicious food are still at the heart of our business. To that end, while technology and automation will play an increasing role in restaurant operations, we’re focusing on back-of-house technologies that make our employees’ jobs easier so they can focus on our guests.”

Barry McGowan, CEO, Fogo de Chao

“More and more, guests are choosing where to dine based on experience more than the food. It’s atmosphere, the buzz and the discovery that creates interest.”

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So where do we see the industry heading in 2020? Of course, we are firm believers in the advancement of technology and the restaurant industry will be an awesome primer for this boom that is to come. But it is also possible to see a multi-faceted approach. Nation’s Restaurant News predicts that restaurant architecture and design will encompass both a high-tech and low-tech combination. Customers will ultimately gravitate towards a low-tech hospitality atmosphere while still reaping the benefits of high-tech advancements in service and back of the house operations.

Where do you think the restaurant industry is headed in the year 2020? Feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!