There was a wealth of changes across the quick-service restaurant world in the latter part of the last decade, including culinary diversification, menu optimisation, technology innovation and the introduction of third-party delivery services. So, what can we expect in this new decade? We have done our research and have created the following list of fast food trends to look out for in 2020 and beyond.
1. Plant-based offerings will continue to grow
Vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise, as are flexitarians (people who still eat some meat but want plant-based options). This is best evidenced by the rapid increase in 2019 of dairy-free and vegan options for consumers in quick-service restaurants, including milk, ice cream, cheese, chicken and beef.
As innovations in this sector persist, plant-based food options will continue to be at the forefront of quick-service restaurant trends in 2020.
2. Sustainability as a necessity
The sustainability movement continues to grow and evolve with no sign of slowing down. Customers now, more than ever before, are voting with their feet and choosing brands that align with their values and engage in sustainability practices. Quick-service restaurants will need to implement sustainability practices, such as reducing or eliminating single use plastic items if they are to stay relevant in the eyes of consumers.
3. Increasing demand for transparency
Customers want a good quality product, but they also want to know and understand what ingredients are going into their products. Customers have seen product innovation from quick-service restaurants for many years now. They have come to expect new products, new ways of ordering and new offers, but what they really want is a well-executed product, with ingredients they can pronounce. That being said, consumers are increasing their education about the products they eat and are starting to embrace whole, minimally processed foods to meet their nutritional needs. Quick-service restaurants that embrace this trend will likely come out on top.
4. Changes to third-party delivery services
We all know that many things can go wrong with third-party delivery services. They can be bad for your brand’s reputation when food goes missing, is delivered late or arrives soggy or cold, and the biggest problem is that as a franchisee you can’t control them. There is some light at the end of the tunnel though – it has been predicted by those in the know that there will be changes to assist with these problems. Packaging innovations and limited menu’s for delivery, for example, will help to ensure that food arrives without issue and still resembles the final product that was produced in store.
5. More ghost kitchens will materialise
Ghost kitchens are off-site cooking facilities that create food solely for online ordering and delivery. It is too early to tell just how big the use of ghost kitchens will get, but as they mean more money and opportunity for restaurant operators, without large price or labour hikes we can be sure that more are on their way.