As this decade ends, we are looking forward to the new one. 2020 is a year that we’ve discussed previously and held up as the year that technology will transform our industry. Now that we’re only a month out, we’d like to share our industry predictions for the year, and decade, to come.
Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Siri have invaded homes throughout North America in 2018 and 2019. Last Christmas, they were one of the most popular gifts and according to The Rail, one in six adults already own a voice-controlled speaker. This holiday season, they are once again on track to be a very popular gift. In 2020, we expect acceptance and usage of voice-activated smart-speakers to increase.
Right now, most voice searches are very utilitarian in nature, but in the decade to come we expect them to become more complex, and eventually to take over most text-based searches. As we mentioned in a previous post, to prepare for the future you should be optimizing your restaurant’s website for voice search, whether or not you offer voice ordering.
It’s funny how the more access we’ve had to phones over the last decade, the less they are being used to make phone calls. Mobile responsiveness and user-friendliness are key to a successful online ordering website now, and will be what drives design in 2020 and beyond. In all B2C industries, ordering products online is becoming easier, and the experience is becoming more and more seamless. Restaurants need to keep up with this trend, as consumer expectations increase.
Third-Party Online Ordering
Third-party online ordering is here to stay. These services have increased their delivery market share throughout the United States and Canada, and their customer base is growing quickly. Right now, most third-party online ordering is only available in large cities, but over the course of the next year, we expect them to enter smaller cities and more rural areas.
Like the rest of the industry, we talked about third-party online ordering a fair amount this year. In July, Sterling Douglas, CEO of Chowly, shared some methods to make third-party online ordering work for your pizzeria. Whether your restaurant uses them or not, it’s important to put together a long term delivery strategy. If you deliver using in-house drivers, examine how you plan to compete against these companies, and determine an approach that will work for you.
2019 was a big year in the fight against climate change, as many cities, states, provinces, and countries banned single-use plastics. Greta Thunberg presented to the UN about the dangers facing youth, and students around the world protested government inaction around climate change. If you’re business hasn’t already begun making changes to reduce your emissions, and waste, whether mandated or not, you may lose customers in 2020 as consumers pay more attention.
Be careful to not just follow “green” trends blindly: actually investigate any green products your restaurant is considering. Many so-called “green” products aren’t as good for the environment as they claim, and as consumers become more and more knowledgeable, they will turn away from restaurants that appear to be touting environmentally sensitive initiatives as a marketing ploy. Sometimes, the simplest solutions are best. In a post earlier this year, we suggested reducing food waste, packaging, and buying as much from local suppliers as possible as common sense ways to reduce your restaurant’s footprint.
It seems today that everyone is either on a diet, or has some kind of dietary restriction. Don’t expect that to change in 2020. According to Restaurant Business Online, the latest health craze has consumers focusing on foods with specific nutritional benefits, and next they will be looking for foods that provide “natural enhancements” to physical or emotional health, like golden berries, turmeric, or nutritional yeast. Keep making those gluten-free pizzas too. In that same report, Restaurant Business Online said that 11% of consumers adhere to a gluten-free diet.
In 2019, it seems like every restaurant has started offering Beyond MeatTM, and ImpossibleTM Burgers. Aaron Allen & Associates believes that alternative proteins will impact foodservice drastically in the 2020s. With the increased attention to how animals are treated, and how meat production affects the environment, more and more consumers are opting to eat less meat. Whether or not you choose to offer alternative proteins in 2020, consider adding more veggie options to your menu.
No matter what happens in 2020, the SpeedLine team hopes both you and your business have a great year. The coming decade is expected to bring big changes for the restaurant industry, and we look forward to helping you meet the challenges that go with them.
Posted on Wed, Dec 18, 2019 @ 07:12 AM.
Updated on April 14, 2020 @ 6:47 PM PST.
As the Marketing Specialist for SpeedLine Solutions Inc., Elizabeth is the Managing Editor for On Point: The Restaurant Technology Blog. Have an idea for an article? Send her a message!