4 Restaurant Industry Trends of 2018

the top trends we can expect to see in the restaurant industry 2018

These 5 restaurant industry trends are specific to hospitality, but highly influenced by society government and technology. What’s the latest revolution in the restaurant industry? What is the new target market? How are restaurant owners revamping their space?



Beyond Restaurant operations are optimized when we keep up with the latest restaurant industry trends. It helps us stay knowledgeable about our competitors’ strategies, and optimize our sales by understanding trending consumer behavior. Here are some of the most significant and widespread restaurant industry trend that we see are on the rise. We can expect to see the rapid growth of these trends throughout 2018 and beyond.

1.Restaurants Become Data-Driven Businesses

Beyond the point of sale (P.O.S) and inventory data-tracking systems, the restaurant industry has not felt the need to adopt the data revolution into their businesses.  We have always been considered a “low-tech” industry. But that is all starting to change.

2018 top restaurant industry trend is data analysis for optimizing restaurant operations
Restaurant Industry Trend #1 is the growth of data in restaurant marketing and operations


This change is sweeping the nation quickly. Data is being used in Texas restaurants, and others across the nation. Data is useful for personalized marketing and some are also using data analysis software to create hyper-customized menu suggestions. The most data-friendly businesses are adopting “smart,” data-capturing kitchen equipment that save businesses thousands of dollars each year.

One Mediterranean quick service restaurant chain, Cava is taking restaurant analytics a step further. Cava uses sensors throughout their restaurant to capture light, sound and seating data. This data-driven operations initiative optimized their lighting, and improved employee retention, saving them $500,000 in retraining. They’ve even reduced makeline times by discovering that it’s best to put the chattiest line employees at the front of the line to avoid backing up further down the line.


2. Growth of Delivery and Off-Premise Concepts

With the intense growth and success of restaurant delivery and delivery service apps, it’s no surprise that we are seeing more off-premise concepts pop up. If you haven’t read it yet, check out this article on how third party delivery service apps are impacting the restaurant industry.

More and more restaurants are redesigning and accommodating for the growth in restaurant delivery and takeout. They are adopting second make lines and ordering custom branded food delivery containers and custom disposable cups. Many are also revamping their order pickup areas for drivers both through delivery apps and for in-house food deliveries.


Delivery and off-premise concepts trending the restaurant industry
Restaurant Industry Trend #2 is the accommodation for delivery demand and the rise in off-premise concepts


Despite the growth in these services, there are still a few factors limiting the success of completely off-premise concepts. One is the increased competition from grocery store’s grab-and-go concepts. Another is demand. Demand for delivery is certainly rising, but we don’t have the critical mass that we need just yet. So single deliveries are too expensive. Finally, a major limiting factor is technology. We are getting close, but according to this Restaurant Business Online, the algorithms are just not quite there yet.

So if you’re thinking of adopting an off-premise concept…we recommend you hold off. But in the meantime, you can partner with a 3rd party delivery service app to boost delivery sales. If you’re not sure which apps to sign up with, we recommend you visit our delivery service app partner guide.


3. Targeting Baby Boomers

This  generation gave rise to fast food and casual dining. Now they have more money and affinity than ever before. It is for this reason that we can expect more restaurants to ditch the millennials and once again upsell the boomers.

Some restaurants, like Chili’s and Applebee’s are even re-engineering their menus to introduce new new dishes (or bring back old ones) that target baby boomers.


targeting baby boomers is trending for the restaurant industry in 2018
The #3 restaurant industry trend is bringing back the baby boomers. Restaurants once again target boomers as guests…and employees!


Restaurants aren’t just targeting boomers as customers…but as employees too. According to the National Restaurant Association, baby boomers are the fastest growing restaurant industry labor force. This shouldn’t be too surprising, as this generation is exiting the mainstream workforce, but still maintain their traditional work ethic.

4. Attracting Non-Traditional Restaurant Employees

Employment has always been an issue for restaurant owners. Currently, we face a patchwork of competing policies from the federal, local and state governments over who’s to set workplace rules and pay levels. Meanwhile, we are still experiencing a tight labor market.

To help solve this problem, some restaurants are developing personalized advancement programs to attract new employee demographics that might otherwise consider restaurant employment as a dead end. These programs prove that “new” demographics, such as college-educated millennials are attainable through the promise of advancement. Restaurant employers promise the development of transferable skills like business 101, management shadowing and emotional intelligence, that are useful to the career growth of the employees.


In 2018 restaurants target nontraditional restaurant employees in a tight labor market
The restaurant industry trend coming in at #4 is attracting and hiring nontraditional restaurant employees. Personalized advancement programs make this possible.


For the last several years, the restaurant industry has faced many challenges, impacting our industry-wide success. These latest restaurant industry trends indicate that things might be looking up for us. These four trends represent solutions to negative societal impacts on our industry, technology growth and concept advancement that will lead to long-term revenue growth.