Food Service Trends to Watch in 2021

Food Service Trends to Watch in 2021

In the ever-evolving world of food service, keeping up with the latest trends is crucial for success. As we enter into 2021, there are several key trends that are expected to shape the industry. From the rise of ghost kitchens to the emphasis on sustainability and health-conscious options, it’s important for businesses to stay ahead of the curve. In this article, we will explore some of the most important food service trends to watch in 2021.

Plant-Based Options

Rise in Demand for Plant-Based Alternatives

The year 2021 is seeing a significant increase in the demand for plant-based alternatives in the food service industry. With more consumers becoming conscious about their health and the environment, there is a growing trend towards plant-based options. This shift is driven by factors such as sustainability, animal welfare, and health concerns.

Innovative Plant-Based Menus

To meet the rising demand for plant-based alternatives, restaurants and food service providers are getting creative with their menus. Chefs are experimenting with new ingredients and cooking techniques to offer innovative and delicious plant-based dishes. From plant-based burgers and tacos to vegan desserts, there is a wide range of options available to cater to different tastes and preferences.

Expansion of Plant-Based Offerings

In 2021, we can expect to see a significant expansion of plant-based offerings in the food service industry. Many restaurants are adding more plant-based options to their menus to attract a wider customer base. This trend is not only limited to vegan and vegetarian restaurants but is also being adopted by mainstream eateries looking to cater to the growing number of flexitarian and health-conscious consumers.

Contactless Service

With the ongoing global pandemic, the food service industry has seen a significant shift towards contactless service to ensure the safety of both customers and staff. This trend is expected to continue to rise in 2021 as consumers prioritize convenience and safety.

Implementation of Contactless Ordering

One of the key aspects of contactless service is the implementation of contactless ordering systems. This allows customers to place their orders through mobile apps or websites without the need for physical menus or interaction with staff. By streamlining the ordering process, restaurants can reduce wait times and improve efficiency.

Contactless Payment Solutions

Contactless payment solutions, such as mobile wallets and payment apps, have also become increasingly popular in the food service industry. These solutions eliminate the need for physical cash or cards, reducing the risk of transmission of germs. In 2021, we can expect to see more restaurants adopting contactless payment options to provide a seamless and safe dining experience for their customers.

Contactless Delivery and Takeout

Contactless delivery and takeout have become the norm for many restaurants in 2020, and this trend is likely to continue in 2021. Customers can place orders online or through mobile apps and have their food delivered to their doorstep without any physical contact. This not only provides convenience for customers but also ensures the safety of both customers and delivery personnel. Restaurants will need to invest in efficient delivery systems and packaging to meet the growing demand for contactless delivery and takeout services.

Technology Integration

In 2021, technology integration in the food service industry is more important than ever. With the ongoing pandemic, restaurants are looking for innovative ways to enhance the customer experience while also prioritizing safety and efficiency. Here are some key trends to watch out for:

Usage of AI for Personalized Recommendations

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used by many restaurants to offer personalized recommendations to customers. By analyzing data such as past orders, preferences, and demographics, AI can suggest menu items that are likely to appeal to individual customers. This not only enhances the customer experience but also helps restaurants increase sales and customer loyalty.

Online Reservation Systems

Online reservation systems have become essential for restaurants in 2021. With capacity restrictions and social distancing measures in place, it is crucial for restaurants to manage their seating arrangements efficiently. Online reservation systems allow customers to book tables in advance, reducing wait times and ensuring a smooth dining experience.

Digital Menu Boards and QR Codes

Digital menu boards and QR codes are becoming increasingly popular in restaurants. These technologies allow restaurants to update their menus in real-time, add photos and descriptions of dishes, and even include nutritional information. QR codes can also be used for contactless ordering and payment, minimizing physical contact between customers and staff.

Overall, technology integration in the food service industry is revolutionizing the way restaurants operate and interact with customers. By staying ahead of these trends, restaurants can enhance the customer experience, increase efficiency, and drive business growth in 2021 and beyond.


In conclusion, the food service industry is constantly evolving and adapting to meet the changing needs and preferences of consumers. In 2021, we can expect to see a continued focus on sustainability, technology integration, and health-conscious options. It is important for food service businesses to stay informed about these trends and be willing to make adjustments to their offerings in order to stay competitive in the market. By keeping a close eye on these key trends, businesses can position themselves for success in the coming year and beyond.

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