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2020’s Biggest Foodservice Trends: How To Implement Them For Less

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The average American eats out 5.9 times per week, according to Business Insider. This is great news for food businesses like yours as every U.S. citizen is spending upwards of $1,900 annually on food away from home, so there is plenty of profit to be made. But to keep customers coming back and profit coming in, it’s crucial that your food business is financially prepared to offer 2020’s biggest foodservice trends.

Street food

The street food industry is growing at a rate of 15% per year due to their low start-up and running costs, as well as the convenience they offer both business owners and customers. As a result, street food will continue to be big business in 2020, and vendors will provide customers with even more than they do now.

London-based Deliveroo predicts that street food will get healthier with salads made from alternative grains and nut butters likely to become readily available. With 2.5 billion people across the globe eating street food every day, it’s certainly something to consider venturing into in 2020, even if you’ve solely been restaurant based up until now.

Selling street food as a sideline to your main business will earn you more profit and encourage more people to dine in at your business premises. To get up and running, you could purchase a food truck for between $150,000 to $200,000. It’s also recommended that you purchase General Liability, Product Liability, and Commercial Auto insurance.

An alternative option comes in the form of a pitch on a local market. Vendor pitches vary per state and are typically based on the size of your stall and location within the market, but you’ll easily be able to cover the cost by putting aside a small amount of your restaurant’s takings every week. But remember, you’ll likely still be required to get General Liability, Product Liability, and Workers Compensation.

Catering to everyone’s needs

If you’re thinking of overhauling your menu options, then 2020 is the year to do it. In just three years, the number of vegans in America increased by 600%, and the vegan market is expected to be worth $215 million by 2020. But it’s not just more vegan options that you need to add to your menu as experts predict that healthier food options for children over the coming year are essential too.

Chicken nuggets, burgers, fish fingers, and sausages will be off the menu and replaced with wholesome food options, including fresh pasta made from alternative flours, unbreaded salmon dishes, fermented foods, and nutritious grains, such as quinoa.

With new meals to produce, a greater number of ingredients to purchase, chefs to train, and new menus to print, the cost of catering to a larger number of people’s food requirements can be expensive. Thankfully, there are tricks you can use to recuperate these additional costs:

  • The Golden Triangle method - this involves placing your most profitable items in the center, top right, and top left corner of your menus as these are the areas researchers have found diners focus the most on.

  • Use buzz words - buzz words in the foodservice industry include ‘fresh’, ‘locally-sourced’, ‘wholesome’, ‘organic’, and ‘raw’. These words lure customers in as they’re positive and promote health.

  • Remove dollar signs - while listing the price of your food items is a must, including the dollar sign isn’t. Research shows that diners spend 8% more when the dollar sign is omitted, so avoid including them on your menu redesign.

  • Get your costings right - as a general rule, your gross profit margin should be 70% on every item you sell. Therefore, you need to take the time to work out the cost price and selling price of all your dishes rather than randomly choosing a retail figure.

Open kitchen

Open kitchens are great for installing confidence in diners, putting on a show, and exciting your customers. Allan Sherwin, a professor of culinary management at Michigan State University predicts that more restaurants will open up their kitchens in 2020, as diners demand more transparency.

Most eateries that opt for an open layout will install serving hatches, a glass partition wall, powerful overhead lighting, and potentially a seating area for diners. If you choose to go down this route, you also need to factor in the cost of redesigning your kitchen’s layout and moving ovens and similar appliances as a result of losing a wall.

A big project like this can be paid for with borrowed funds, such as those obtained from a loan. You could also consolidate your company’s loans at the same time, so you only have to pay one monthly repayment rather than multiple ones. But whatever you do, make sure you adjust your Restaurant insurance accordingly following your open kitchen renovation to ensure it is all protected.


Food places in America produce between 22 and 33 billion pounds of food waste every year. But all that is is going to change in 2020 as the industry implements more measures to reduce the amount of waste they create. Research shows that composting is one of the most effective ways of limiting waste, yet just 15% of eateries currently do this.

To avoid contamination and to make the composting process as easy as possible, durable dinnerware and cutlery need to be provided. Alternatively, compostable serviceware can be used instead. One study found that composting was more effective and diners had a better experience when just one type of serviceware was used.

Compostable serviceware costs approximately 5 cents more per set than a standard serviceware set. While this isn’t a significant price difference, you will need to buy them repeatedly so the cost will soon add up. To cover some of your initial outlay, consider selling your standard serviceware. It’s also worth increasing your prices, between 46% and 61% of people are prepared to pay more for eco-friendly products.

2020 will be a big year for the foodservice industry as a whole variety of new trends will emerge. To ensure that your food business stays afloat during this time, it’s important that you adapt to these changes and implement as many of them as you can.

Amy Fletcher is a freelance writer and researcher with a keen interest in business management. In recent years she has written for various online magazines, journals, and blogs. When she's not writing she enjoys long walks with her daughter and two dogs.