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Post-Pandemic Dining Trends Redefining The Industry

Niko Pajkovic
December 21st, 2022
It's no secret that the pandemic devastated the restaurant industry. During peak lockdown, many businesses in the space struggled to survive, especially as in-person dining options became restricted. However, in the face of such disarray, some restaurateurs developed a creative approach to coping with the pandemic – one which would involve reinventing traditional dining practices.

In this article, we highlight four key trends that have served to “reinvent” the nature of modern dining.

Branded Hosting

Culinary brands are leveraging the power of social media to help customers enjoy restaurant-style dining, from the comfort of their homes. Trend Hunter’s insight, ‘Branded Hosting,’ explores this trend, which has carried on since the pandemic. Today, many popular restaurants are still offering home delivery services or takeout options for their customers. They are also providing meal kits that contain pre-measured ingredients as well as detailed instructions to recreate restaurant dishes right in their kitchens.

In addition, some companies are creating virtual cooking classes that replicate in-restaurant experiences, allowing people to gather with friends and family members while they prepare meals together, just as if they were in the restaurant. To add to the fun and convenience, some restaurants are even providing pre-made cocktails alongside their meals so that customers can enjoy the full experience at home.

Cultivated Restaurant

Trend Hunter’s insight, ‘Cultivated Restaurant,’ looks at the recent rise of restaurants serving lab-grown meats and seafood. This trend is driven largely by sustainability concerns, as lab-grown meat products are not only considered more sustainable than traditional animal-sourced meats, but also more nutritious.

In particular, lab-grown meats and seafood have become increasingly popular among millennials and Gen Zers, who are often more environmentally conscious than older generations. To meet this new demand, many restaurants have started offering lab-grown proteins on their menus. These restaurants serve dishes such as “cultivated steak” and “cultivated sushi”-which look and taste just like the real thing but are made without harming animals.

Sustainable Cooking

When it comes to preparing meals at home, there has been a major shift since the pandemic toward sustainable cooking products and appliances. Trend Hunter’s insight, ‘Sustainable Cooking,’ focuses on this trend by highlighting products that range from environmentally friendly cooking equipment and utensils to low-impact ingredients. For example, plastic-free cookware sets made from stainless steel, bamboo, or glass are being purchased more frequently.
Meanwhile, reusable bee wax wraps are seeing some popularity, since they offer an efficient way to store food without having to use plastic wrap.

Furthermore, more people are turning to buying organic produce. This is due to the increasing awareness of the health benefits associated with eating organic food, including being free from harmful pesticides and hormones. Eating seasonally local produce is also becoming increasingly popular as it helps reduce food miles and minimize greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

NFT Dining

Trend Hunter’s insight ‘NFT Dining’ highlights the trend for tech-forward restaurants to utilize the power of NFTs. In essence, NFT Dining is a new way for restaurants to offer exclusive membership and experiences to their customers. For example, some restaurants are offering private locations that require customers to purchase an NFT in order to gain access. Other eateries are using NFTs as payment or even fundraisers, creating an entirely new source of income for businesses.

Not only do these digital collections provide benefits in terms of increased exclusivity and funding opportunities, but they also bring the potential for unique promotional campaigns and marketing strategies. Furthermore, they give customers the sense that they’re part of something special rather than just another restaurant patron; ownership over exclusive dining experiences creates a deeper connection with their favorite brands than traditional loyalty programs have been able to accomplish.


Takeaways

Ultimately, the pandemic has presented an opportunity for restaurants to innovate and redefine what it means to dine out – demonstrating that innovation is essential for success in this rapidly changing environment. In this article, we have highlighted four ways restaurants have adapted to the post-pandemic market: they have created branded at-home experiences, they have implemented sustainability-focused initiatives, they have turned to cultivated meats and seafood, and they have embraced tech-forward solutions such as NFTs.

For more restaurant industry insights, check out Trend Hunter’s free 2023 Trend Report
References: trendreports