2022 is bound to be an exciting year for the restaurant industry, as we hope it will bring the full return to safely dining out.
For the restaurant industry, many lessons were learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Certainly, no for-profit industry suffered as much loss of business.
But we hope all that is in the past as 2022 ushers in a new era of hope and excitement as we reconnect and begin to explore anew.
There have been really fun adaptations made by restaurants like robot servers, which promote social distancing as well as being a novelty. Restaurants also have to adapt to smaller menus because of supply chain disruptions and some changes to front and back of house dynamics.
Most exciting are all the interesting new menu trends that we can expect to see for the spring and summer of 2022.
Non-dairy, plant-based milk alternatives have been popular for many years now. Oat milk became a cereal choice and a kind of Tik Tok status choice.
Now, potato milk is making its way onto the market. Potato milk was developed by a food technology professor at the University of Sweden. The professor asserts that potatoes are a perfect choice since they saved people from starving in the 19th century and are full of protein, starch, and vitamin C.
One of the main criticisms of most plant-based milk is that they are actually environmentally poor choices due to the plants' amount of water. However, research has revealed that potatoes require 56 times less water than almonds, making this a far more eco-wise option.
Plant-based includes potato milk for one, but its applications are becoming endless. Now, nearly every fast-food franchise has adapted its menus to include some vegan meat options.
Even those not primarily plant-based are taking to the new menu options. Many are seeking to cut down on meat, but many are simply curious because they find that these alternatives can be just as delicious!
As a result, fast-food chains are finding that plant-based options have become important sales drivers in their business models. Since plant-based menu options have become more exciting than just a limp salad (hold the chicken), vegan meals have become an appealing choice to anyone. We will be seeing a whole lot more plant-based innovations over 2022.
Perhaps because of the pandemic's toll on everyone’s mental health, or maybe because Gen Z seems to have less interest in alcohol than their millennial elders, but mocktails are becoming an increasingly popular option.
Even celebrities who were once known for each having their line of alcohol are beginning to opt for non-alcoholic spirits instead.
While many are used to making mocktails at home, many are delighted to find that they are more available when dining out. Even better, these drinks were designed to be served without alcohol. This means that they are perfectly balanced and not simply one ingredient short for someone preferring not to imbibe.
Herbaceous, juicy, sweet, sour, and smoky non-alcoholic drink options are sure to be on deck for summer and throughout 2022.
Seeds Replacing Nuts
Some are predicting that the nut craze is over, replaced with seeds. Sunflower seed butter has become a popular product at Whole Foods. Ben and Jerry’s have also released a line of sunflower seed butter vegan ice cream.
Ferments & Preserves
Brining, pickling and canning are traditional favorites that have come back into vogue over the past year in response to supply chain interruptions. Chefs often have to turn to what is available in the hyper-local arena, and this is a seasonal consideration for many areas.
Preserving and fermenting are ways of stretching the seasonality of foods. They are also known for their sharp, bitter, salty, and sour flavors, adding an exciting pop to many meals.
While a ghost kitchen is not a menu item, it is a way of experiencing cuisine, and it is likely to be on the rise! A ghost kitchen is a food prep kitchen with no front of the house, no dining room, existing purely as a take-out and delivery establishment.
Ghost kitchen rose to popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they were around beforehand too. Restaurateurs realized that they could still draw reliable clientele through delivery options and opted to waive the high costs of often empty dining rooms.
Even national franchises started realizing the benefits of this application, so it is an easy prediction that this movement will stick around.
While traditionally, the front-of-house staff has clocked out with the lion’s share of the tips, more and more restaurants are now opting to pool the tips throughout the restaurant.
This has seemed especially necessary throughout the pandemic where take-out and delivery were more common, and most orders bypassed the front-of-house altogether.
Restaurateurs, staff, and customers alike are sure to enjoy all the novelty arising as we emerge from our pandemic lives. One way restaurateurs can ensure a good return for staff is by providing them with the right tools, like Tiphaus, to get the job done right so together we can all look forward to a new day.