Restaurant trends to watch in 2022

More comfort food, alcohol to go and outdoor dining year-round will be offered.

December 30, 2021

2 Min Read
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Despite continued curveballs, most restaurant owners/operators are feeling either very optimistic (30%) or cautiously optimistic (60%) about their outlook for 2022 as they implement strategies that will change experiences for both diners and staff. To provide deeper insight into the current and future restaurant landscape, Popmenu conducted a nationwide survey of 415 U.S. restaurant owners/operators in October 2021 and compiled the findings in a new report filled with must-know trends, real-life examples and a few surprises.

A sample of key findings:

  • The labor shortage is starving restaurant sales … literally – 71% of restaurant owners/operators estimate that they lose $5,000 or more per month due to the hospitality talent deficit; 37% lose $10,000 or more per month.

  • Restaurants will expand operations – 28% anticipate opening a new restaurant location or concept in 2022. Diners can also expect to see more ghost kitchens.

  • Restaurants will show workers the money – 82% plan to increase compensation for workers, from raising the minimum wage and offering signing and retention bonuses to implementing a new tipping option for kitchen staff.

  • Restaurants will raise menu prices – 9 in 10 restaurant owners/operators plan to increase menu prices as they grapple with growing supply shortages and costs.

  • Restaurants will step up their digital game to attract and serve guests – After experiencing increased sales and efficiency through tech usage this year, 51% plan to automate more online operations over the next 12 months while 41% plan to automate more on-premise operations.

  • Restaurants will serve up comfort and convenience – Nearly half of restaurant owners/operators will place a greater emphasis on comfort food (and healthy food) while 26% say they will offer more alcohol to go and 29% will offer outdoor dining year-round.

  • Restaurants will get more personalized in guest outreach – Leveraging digital data on guests' preferences and behaviors, nearly 40% will boost investments in marketing and loyalty programs and offer more customized ordering experiences.

"Technology became an even more powerful ally to restaurants when COVID hit and seemingly temporary solutions quickly became core to operations," says Brendan Sweeney, CEO and co-founder of Popmenu. "Our study shows that adoption of automation will accelerate in 2022 as restaurants respond to rising market demand and a taxing labor shortage and position themselves for future growth. Diners can expect more tailored, digitally-enabled experiences built for convenience while restaurant owners and operators can expect competitors to turn up the volume on search engine optimization, data-driven marketing and on-premise tech."

Popmenu specializes in transformative online and on-premise technologies that help restaurants increase brand visibility, guest engagement, revenue and profitability. The company is a leading innovator in digital marketing and ordering technology that works with over 6,000 independent restaurants and hospitality groups. 

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