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The commercial foodservice industry will continue to expand as Americans eat more meals away from home, but operators face a host of challenges from a more demanding consumer, according to a 10-year outlook report from the National Restaurant Association.
The report, "Restaurant Industry 2030: Actionable Insights for the Future," examines the key indicators shaping the future of the industry, identifies the most and least likely developments over the upcoming decade, and considers possible disrupters outside the industry that could transform it. The findings are based on input from a variety of restaurant sector experts, futurists and government statistics.
Key economic projections for 2030 include:
"The restaurant industry is at a crossroads as it finds ways to respond to consumer demand for meal and snack solutions away from home," Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the research and knowledge group for the National Restaurant Association, said in a press release. "Restaurant owners are swiftly adapting across their businesses to meet the wants and needs of guests. The radical transformation of the last decade will change the way the industry operates going forward. It's exciting to ponder how the industry will grow and transform over the next 10 years, and consider how the association can best support the industry in capitalizing on these opportunities."
Over the next decade, technology and data will become a greater focus for restaurants as they adapt to growing consumer expectations in the on-demand world. Guests will expect a seamless digital experience and want their preferences known at each interaction with a restaurant. As off-premises traffic and sales continue to accelerate, consumers will place a heightened importance on experiential dining for on-premises occasions. Areas to watch include:
The restaurant of the future will be smaller in size. Smaller restaurants could incorporate more automated kitchen equipment and the typical kitchen layout may change.
Sustainable sourcing and transparency will continue to grow in focus for consumers over the next decade. In order to remain competitive, restaurants will need to adapt to evolving dietary restrictions and consumer preferences. Food trends and menus will naturally evolve to reflect the increasingly health-conscious, ecological mindset of the consumer. Areas to watch include:
Population growth at an expected annual rate of 0.7% between 2018 and 2030, accompanied by changing demographics in the next decade, are expected to lead to an average labor growth rate of 0.5% annually between 2018 and 2028. With slower labor-force growth, restaurants will continue to compete against other industries for talent, making recruitment and retention vital to success in the coming decade. Restaurant employers will adopt career-focused mentalities as operators enhance retention by offering benefits and long-term career paths to success. Key statistics and areas to watch include:
"Deconstructing possible trends and innovations of the next decade will help both large and small-business owners in the restaurant industry anticipate their greatest challenges," said Riehle. "With these actionable insights for the future, restaurants will remain an integral part of the economy and a cornerstone of every community across this nation."
American Express and Nestlé Professional partnered with the association on the report.
Companies: National Restaurant Association