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2023 Restaurant Trends

Through closures and new regulations and supply chain issues and inflation, the restaurant industry has experienced challenges over the last two plus years, adjusting best practices to keep people safe and comfortable, and discovering new methods of enhancing the restaurant experience. 

As the industry has made adjustments, so have consumers, also affected by these social and business climate factors. Hungry to return to a sense of normalcy and fun, diners have returned to restaurants in droves. But there are still some factors to consider, especially around spending, and as consumers feel the effects of inflation, they’re spending, but more cautiously. There is a “bang-for-my-buck” mentality driving dining choices, as restaurant visitors seek, not only quality food, friendly customer service in a clean enviornment, but an experience that feels meaningful and memorable.

For 2023, trends lean toward community and experienced-based gatherings, evident in Nation’s Restaurant News’s list of top-ten trends for the upcoming year. Experts predict an increased emphasis on local culture and community-based events, and food experiences related to cultural experiences. For example, trending foods include hot sauces, Asian cuisine, globally-inspired salads, and Southern comfort foods blending sweet and spicy notes. Shared items like charcuterie boards and sandwiches will play into the desire for ease and community gathering. Diners will be on the look out for sustainability efforts and eco-friendly materials, as well as streamlined, simple menus with an easy ordering process.

But tuning into upcoming trends, restaurants understand how to stay relevant. This is attractive to potential customers, of course, but it also informs restaurant owners how to plan budgets and prepare the restaurant space and staff members for what will be successful. Our restaurant consultants can use these trends for creating atmosphere, designing menus, organizing budgets and schedules and more.

“The challenges can be redirected into opportunities,” notes Richard Weil, owner and principal of National Restaurant Consultants.  “Forward-thinking operators will make 2023 a positive opportunity with not just new and different menu and flavor opportunities, but empowering staff and guests alike to have great experiences.”  Contact NRC to ask the hard questions, and learn  how NRC can be a valued resource to address and meet your 2023 business needs.