Get the foodservice industry forecast for the coming year


“Everything’s connected” is the central theme Technomic, a management consulting firm for the foodservice industry, predicts will affect restaurants and the foodservice industry in 2020.

In all, Technomic named 7 hot trends for next year—some expected, some surprising. Here are a few.

First, some general observations: Technomic says there’s a shift toward menus with “new sustainably grown and sourced ingredients, which connects to an elevated prioritization around waste reduction.” This “heightened social responsibility…is aligned with the changing consumer expectations.”

The Year of the Fad

Restaurants will increasingly “jump on fads instead of waiting for trends.” Technomic says we can “expect head-scratcher fare such as Asian cheese tea, huitlacoche (corn smut), edible insects and technically illegal tonka beans and CBD to find momentum.”

New Forces of Nature

Technomic expects the plant-forward movement to continue but says restaurants “will need to look to new natural resources to keep menus exciting.” Look for “overlooked parts of familiar plants, such as beet greens, sweet potato leaves and avocado blossom, to gain attention.”

While fewer people are drinking cow’s milk, Technomic says, “consumers are learning you can milk just about anything. Nuts and seeds are just the first step; up next, expect more oat, fruit and vegetable milks.”

Locking into Life Stages

Technomic notes a few of the demographic shifts underway.

  • Within the next six years, 80% of millennials will be parents.
  • About 10,000 baby boomers retire from the work force every day.

Generations are not defined solely by their age brackets anymore, Technomic says. Instead, it’s important to “recognize the various life stages—everything from reaching legal drinking age to parenting to retirement—that each consumer cluster is currently experiencing.” To keep customers, savvy companies will “quickly pivot and develop a more strategic voice to reach specific subgroups within each generation.”

Offsetting Off-Premise

Home delivery occasions are booming (Technomic research shows 78% of operators consider off-premise sales to be a “strategic priority”), leaving declining numbers of in-restaurant diners. Technomic expects more restaurants to “employ creative means to drive in-store traffic, from over-the-top [limited-time offers] and dine-in-only BOGO meals to promoting loyalty/subscription-based rewards that require frequent visitation.”

Get more details and read the rest of Technomic’s 2020 restaurant trends.

Corn smut stock photo by Playa del Carmen/Shutterstock