Top 7 restaurant trends that will shape 2023

Read the trends that will likely take over the hospitality industry



Jan 4, 2023 - 5 min read

Top 7 restaurant trends that will shape 2023

As consumers become more environmentally conscious, as COVID-19 looms around the corner, social media reigns supreme, and private dining keeps its allure, what restaurant trends will be prominent in 2023?

1. Keeping Covid at bay

In some parts of the world, COVID-19 cases are rising.

Restaurants will likely follow their country or city protocols or implement any of these guidelines below to keep their personnel and customers safe:

  • Maintaining social distancing: This may entail limiting the number of tables or increasing the spacing between tables to prevent guests from being too near to one another.

  • Wearing masks: Some restaurants may still require staff to wear masks for protection, especially in crowded spaces or during peak hours. Some restaurants may require staff to wear masks for protection, especially in crowded spaces or during peak hours. In most countries, it's not mandatory to wear masks inside restaurants. However, customers will be requested to wear them when necessary or when not drinking or eating.

  • Providing hand sanitizer: Restaurants will request patrons to sanitize their hands as they enter the premises. 

  • Increasing cleaning and disinfection: Restaurants may increase the frequency with which they clean and disinfect high-touch areas such as door knobs, tables, and toilets.  

  • Contactless menu: Instead of handing out menu cards,  restaurants will implement QR Codes to generate the menu on the customer’s phone.

  • Encouraging contactless payment: Restaurants may use contactless payment methods, such as mobile payments or prepaid cards, to reduce the need for handling cash or credit cards.

  • Offering takeout and delivery: Many restaurants have expanded their takeout and delivery options to allow customers to enjoy their food without dining in. Fine dining establishments may plan their menu for both on-premise and off-premise guests.

  • Implementing reservation systems: Restaurants may implement reservation systems such as TableCheck to manage capacity more effectively and reduce the risk of overcrowding.

Overall, it is important for restaurants to keep following the advice of public health authorities and to put the health and safety of their staff and customers at the top of their list of priorities.

Restaurant COVID protocols

2. Table reservations

It's been common practice for decades for patrons of fine dining establishments to make reservations in advance. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, this has become a norm even in fancy dining and casual dining eateries. While the rules are not as strict now as they were in 2020, restaurants will continue to take caution as COVID-19 is still a reality. Booking platforms like TableCheck have been critical in helping restaurants adhere to social distancing norms.

Here are some more ways in which restaurants might benefit from taking table reservations via platforms like TableCheck:

  • Manage guest numbers: It helps restaurants manage the number of diners at their restaurant at any given point in time.

  • No more hangry (hungry and angry) customers waiting in queues:  Long wait times at restaurants also result in bad reviews for the establishment. A booking system ensures that patrons don’t have to wait for their turn to get a table at a time convenient for them. Reservation platforms also help restaurants to give a more accurate waiting time to walk-ins.

  • Less prone to human error: Table reservation systems are less likely to have the same susceptibility to error as booking a table over the phone. The information entered by the customer is in the system leading to no ambiguity or duplicated bookings for the same slot. The table management systems also send reminders so that the maître d' gets updates about bookings and cancellations..

  • Capture customer information: Restaurants can record important information about their patrons–their anniversaries, birthdays, order history, and allergies–and use the information to customize an elevated dining experience that can help them create wow moments for customers.

3. Private and exclusive dining

Restaurants are constantly looking for new revenue streams, and private dining is one of them.

Most restaurants that offer private dining build a fancy room on the premises with the same theme as the rest of the restaurant but decorated better to create a greater sense of exclusivity. The dining room's allure extends beyond its physical dimensions. The restaurant's employees must also step up and provide exceptional service. Overall, the service must be attentive, the experience must be immersive, and the food must be top-notch.

Essentially, restaurants build a room for private experiences, but an exclusive space can also be created by erecting a barrier within the restaurant that separates guests from the rest of the restaurant. Beautiful bookcases, towering vases, wooden dividers, or any other partition wall that complements the rest of the design could serve as barriers.

It may be expensive to construct such a facility, but clients are looking for such upscale and one-of-a-kind dining experiences for the following reasons:

  • Privacy: Some guests prefer a more intimate gathering where they can drink, eat, and dance without disturbing other guests. A subset of business customers values privacy, professionalism, and the ability to conduct crucial team or client meetings in an uncluttered, peaceful setting.

  • WOW Factor: The private dining room offers privacy, a level of customization that is difficult to attain in a public restaurant. Many restaurants go out of their way to make diners' experiences pleasurable in private dining spaces: catering to their specific tastes and requests, such as personalizing menus with diners' names, playing their favorite songs, providing a breathtaking view, decking the room with elaborate decorations, screening private movies or matches, and even helping diners pop the question. The WOW factor is sought by corporate guests as well. It's common for businesses to go the extra mile to impress high-profile customers, and the exclusivity of a private dining room makes it an ideal venue for such occasions.

  • Safety from COVID: Many guests want to eat out but may still be cautious about getting infected. Private dining ensures that a guest’s exposure is limited to a certain number of guests and staff, thereby providing better protection against COVID-19.

RELATED: Private dining: The next level of hospitality experience

4. Catering to solo diners

There has been an increase in the number of guests who are happy to dine alone. Because more and more people are traveling alone,  there is a continued push to erase the stigma around solo dining.

The rise of the remote work economy has also led to an increase in the number of people who visit cafes and restaurants to conduct business while enjoying several cups of coffee and meals. These diners should be treated as potential consumers and not turned away. Every restaurant wants to make as much money as possible from each table, so it's not surprising that they prefer to seat larger groups or more people. The trick is to make the most of the restaurant's space, whether at the bar for casual dining, a cozy table for one, or a long table where individuals and groups can all dine together.

5. Sustainable restaurant operations

These days, "organic," "sustainable," "farm-to-table," and "locally sourced" are common buzzwords in restaurant advertising copy. In the past few years, there has been a clear shift in how people think about buying food grown locally. Climate change, the idealization of sustainable food practices, and the value placed on local, in-season produce for optimal health have all contributed to this paradigm shift. It's not a gimmick or a passing trend to prioritize environmentally-friendly food options; it's becoming the norm for a growing section of society. More eateries in 2023, both new and old, will start transitioning to a business model where ingredients and supplies are locally sourced.

RELATED: Going eco-friendly: The future of restaurants

6. Restaurants as content creators

Recently, restaurants relied on the reviews of food critics, positive ratings from patrons posted on independent review sites, and word of mouth to grow in popularity.

IoT (Internet of things) and social media have helped restaurants to market themselves while being consistent with their vision and brand positioning. The use of visual media, such as photographs and videos, gives restaurants a great deal of freedom in how they present themselves to the public. They can pay for experienced photographers to take appealing shots of the food, the decor, and the overall ambiance. Envision a video that gives viewers a glimpse of the kitchen's behind-the-scenes action, where the staff slices vegetables with hypnotic dexterity and cooks, bakes, and grills food with the grace of moving poetry. Photos and films like these will boost the restaurant's social media engagement and publicity.

Additionally, sending newsletters to guests is another excellent strategy for increasing brand recall and driving repeat visits. The newsletters could be used to announce the opening of a new branch, introduce a new menu item, announce a special dessert or holiday offering, promote a special event (such as a Halloween or New Year's Eve party), or simply to wish the customers well on special occasions.

TableCheck has helped scores of hospitality clients to create a guest list and plan and implement newsletter campaigns easily and quickly. The best part is that hospitality operators can create customizable campaigns consistent with the brand's identity.

RELATED: How to run successful EDM marketing campaigns

Healthy options in the menu

7. Healthy options on the menu

Nowadays, people place a far greater emphasis on health and wellness than they did a decade back. Investment in health and clean eating is a topic of constant discussion. The general public has a far better understanding of how to care for their health. There are different diets to choose from, whether this means avoiding gluten or lactose or adopting a vegan diet.

Many restaurants have started including calorie counts in their menus and a description of the ingredients. Even the most specialized dining establishments will soon realize the need to be more accommodating to avoid losing business. To satisfy customers with diverse dietary requirements, a steakhouse known for serving the juiciest, most flavorful beef steaks may need to provide vegan options such as spicy cauliflower wings and tofu steaks.

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