2021’s Food & Beverage Trends in Restaurants and Hotels

Image credit: Ivan Stern, Unsplash
Baum+Whiteman’s 2021 trends report predicts the changes in how we’ll eat in 2021 and where.

Without knowing what the state of the world will be next year as the pandemic continues to affect people and businesses across the globe.

And yet, amid swirling economic and social upheavals, Baum+Whiteman’s 2021 trends report takes a shot at predicting next year’s hottest food and beverage trends.

They do, however, offer the following disclaimer: “Some forecasts depend on mass effectiveness of a Covid vaccine.”
Here are some highlights from what they expect to see in the way of trends in 2021.

Less Human Interaction

According to the report, “When restaurants get back on their feet you can expect: highly limited menus, no table cloths, lots of masks and safety barriers, pouring your own wine, no more sharing platters, simpler food, diminished service, fewer celebrations, goodbye buffets.

Baum+Whiteman adds that “you’ll probably be distracted by delivery people hustling through dining areas as restaurants of all types strain for off-premises revenue.”

Expect Fewer Restaurants

While it’s sad news that no one to hear. Baum+Whiteman actually see it as a good thing, saying that there are “too many restaurants chasing too few consumers…. and Covid exposed that underlying weakness.”

According to their crystal ball, having fewer restaurants will lead to higher menu prices, but it isn’t all bad, they say, adding that “If higher prices mean fewer people dining out, then there’s a reckoning and rebalancing to be done for the industry’s business model.”

They go on to say that “It’ll 2022 before fast food/drive-thru/delivery restaurants fully recover … and 2024 or later before sitdown restaurants prosper.”

Goodbye to Printed Menus

Baum+Whiteman says that consumers must learn to “tolerate those dreaded QR codes on restaurant tables,” adding that “Restaurants save printing costs and get better accuracy of orders hitting the kitchen since the customer does the work … bypassing the waiter.

Your Favorite Chefs Might not be There Anymore

“With so many restaurants closing, many star chefs are doing their own gigs,” said Baum+Whiteman.

“They’re opening popup restaurants in vacant spaces … cutting short-term rent deals with pliable landlords. Or their doing popups in friends’ restaurants or from their home kitchens. At the same time, they’re abandoning fancy photogenic food … focusing instead on making, for example, the best possible barbecue, or the Platonic hamburger, or knock-your-socks-off salsa for their ultimate roast chicken.”

Restaurant Brands Appearing in Home Kitchens

Baum+Whiteman notes the trend of restaurants pivoting to selling “homemade pantry items and sweet goods … even opening their own bakeries … offsetting the pain cause by shifting shutdown rules”.

They predict that the trend will accelerate in 2021 “because operators love the incremental revenue… and, more importantly, these items represent brand extensions to existing businesses,” adding that, “even professional cookware, meal kits, and prepared dinners … are invading home kitchens emblazoned with restaurants’ logos.”

You can view the 2021’s Hottest Food & Beverage Trends in Restaurants and Hotels here.

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