Predictions Fast Casual QSR — Food, Beverage and Design by NRN

By | January 7, 2021
Restaurant Predictions

Nations Restaurant News is pretty good at this sort thing. 2021 Predictions

Restaurant Predictions

Restaurant Predictions


New prototypes, the emergence of consumer-packaged goods, the new food hall and more trends Nation’s Restaurant News’ editors predict for the new year

Expect to see more technology supporting touch-free interactions, even more expansion of virtual brands and off-premise sales, consumer-packaged goods coming from more restaurants, social media and Gen Z directing marketing initiatives, and authentically spicy flavors.

Be sure to also check out our predictions for independent restaurants here.

Here are the major trends they see

  1. Frozen food becomes a hot sell.  That has quite a few implications and given the western swing and Gen Z it makes sense.
  2. Fine Dining changes — Restaurants that never had to-go meals like Canalis, Alinea and more have turned their experiential menus into off-premise adventures.
  3. Sustainable More Relevant — Panera and Chipotle Mexican Grill, for example, are giving guests guidance on dishes on their respective menus that are better for the planet.
  4. Dairy products decline — NotMilk is designed to look, smell and taste like cow’s milk but is made from nuts, seeds and grains. It’s not available for foodservice yet, but it is in Whole Foods Markets.
  5. Virtual Brands – absolutely. Quicker identification means faster transactions. Do I search for Brinkers or enter “its just wings”
  6. Consumer packaged goods from independent restaurants – Momofuku is also selling baseball caps, and fast-casual Native American concept Tocabe, in Denver, is selling t-shirts
  7. No touching — For limited-service brands, facial recognition technology can be used for touchless payments at kiosks.
  8. Spicier Food — When Dunkin’ is selling doughnuts with icing laced with ghost peppers and cayenne that’s spicy enough to make some people’s ears ring, you know that really spicy food has truly gone mainstream.
  9. the great outdoors and pedestrian-friendly zones — Many cities have temporarily turned their downtown streets into pedestrian-only zones to give struggling restaurants more space for outside dining.