A study carried out on past, current and future culinary and eating habits, which was carried out by interviewing 11,500 adults from 16 different countries, highlighted the changes that consumer behaviour in going to restaurants has undergone in the last 10 years. The last two years have been of particular impact. The study found that 34% of respondents eat less at the restaurant and prefer to spend more time with their family at the table.
Two years of restrictions and lockdowns have marked the return to cooking: many were, in fact, the expert chefs who tried their hand at flour and stoves, thus creating new eating habits. In parallel to this aspect there is food awareness that makes us prefer a more varied diet and fresh, sustainable and local ingredients. This philosophy is giving way to more and more people to open up to other ingredients and other types of cuisine. In all this, vegetarian and vegan diets continue to spread and are losing the label of "niche" diets.
The convenience of staying at home doesn't just come through cooking. 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. Ordering by phone or via app has allowed and still allows the customer's request to be managed in complete safety (both for the latter and for the restaurant owner) who can enjoy a complete, comfortable and safe service with the delivery.
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. Takeaway dishes, in fact, very often follow completely different preparation and cooking developments than usual. This is so as to guarantee and maintain the quality of the product even after the journey.
On the other hand, the much talked-about Dark Kitchens, which for years were assured would explode and then never really happens, are no longer a novelty. Instead, 2022 will be the year in which the first Dark Kitchen chains will be born, as is already happening in the United States, where the opening of various chains is planned and from there the step is short for the spread of these activities throughout the globe.
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, where the experience of the presence and atmosphere of flavours that a restaurant gives reigns supreme.