2021 was a year full of challenges and uncertainties for the entire restaurant industry around the world. To stay in business and offer a safe service to customers, restaurant owners have gone through many changes, often reinventing themselves both in their proposals and in the management of the activity. With the imposed consequences of the pandemic, 2021 proved to be the year of digitisation.
Consumers have also become more demanding, thanks to an approach to home cooking during the pandemic and the growing sensitivity to the environment and health.
But in the face of these aspects, which had already entered the organisation of many places even before the health crisis, we ask ourselves: what will be the new trends that will influence catering in 2022?
Digital menus, accessible via QR code, were one of the aspects in which restaurant owners have invested the most. The pandemic has certainly given a push towards the digital revolution, which will not stop even in 2022.
Thus, in 2021 in particular, online ordering systems have undergone an important development thanks to the increase of apps and digital activities that have helped restaurants and alike to stay in touch with customers, offering them the possibility to order with greater security, even online. Along with the increase in digitisation, contactless payment has also now become an almost normal aspect of our daily life.
Catering in 2022 will be even greener, where attention to raw materials and sustainability will be among the key values of a growing number of businesses. The restaurant menus will focus on strong tastes and healthy ingredients, back to the origins. Not only veggie dishes and movements in support of alternative foods, but also revisited classic cuisine, with attention to new needs and healthy ingredients. Speaking of sustainability, upcycling is the 2022 trend born from fashion and which is already expanding also in catering. Upcycled food is a movement that allows preventing food waste. This system allows not impacting transport and CO2 emissions, making the process sustainable and green.
Even today, where the pandemic situation seems to no longer be an emergency, it is essential that all consumer protection regulations are respected. In addition to a reorganisation of the spaces in order to guarantee interpersonal distance, the adaptation of the new health and hygiene regulations on the instruments and the continuous sanitation of the premises, it has become a priority to invest in the ventilation of closed spaces.
The so-called “right to clean air” that is debated for years by talking about smog and pollution, today takes on a new declination and the concept is also transferred and applied to catering.
The lockdown has consecrated the delivery service, which more and more restaurants and alike have embraced in order to be able to work in the hard period of 2020 that saw us locked up at home. Delivery is therefore no longer just a "contingent" channel, but has effectively become a core business for many restaurants. Restaurants and similar have been better equipped for home deliveries, but extensive attention has also been given to the management of the take-away service, also developing a separate menu, a dedicated line and, in some cases, the specialisation of the staff too. The expansion of delivery, a consolidated habit in the daily life of consumers and restaurants and now freed from the pandemic, and the explosion of Dark Kitchens will never truly replace traditional catering.
Living better, having a varied, balanced diet that respects your needs has become an indispensable priority. So, green light for fresh and seasonal foods, but also for special diets, such as vegetarian or vegan diets and the latest food movements born in recent years but still considered niche.
But the 2022 catering will not be just good food and new cuisine: another trend of the new year concerns drinks. Attention to the healthiness of one's consumption choices, in fact, has also led to the growth of drinks and cocktails with a reduced alcohol content.