Leveraging Food Trends to Maximize Business in 2021

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We are all weathering the storm that is 2020 – it has been a rough year for everyone, but especially difficult for restaurants and bars. With the wide rollout of a vaccine in the near future, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but a vaccine alone might not be enough. Here are 6 bar and restaurant trends on the horizon for 2021 that you can take advantage of now to get ahead of the game…


  1. Special Occasions Will Be More Important Than Ever – With the wide reopening of dining in 2021, patrons will want their first meals out to be meaningful. Limited menus, seasonal specials, tasting menus with wine or beer pairings – everyone is so burned out from cooking at home that they want their restaurant experiences to be unique and memorable. Lean into descriptive verbiage that tells your customers about the exotic ingredients and elaborate preparation techniques that elevate the experience of this meal.

  2. Continued (and Clever) Use of Digital Menus – Digital menus are here to stay. We’ve explained why digital menus are a must-have tool for your bar or restaurant and shown you how to incorporate contactless menus into your COVID strategy. But are you maximizing their effectiveness in creative ways? A digital version of your menu is great, but if you are not using appealing images to show your customers just how delicious your dishes are, you might want to rethink your strategy. We also recommend using them to suggest other key menu items! Digital menu technology continues to evolve and offer new features – make sure you are evolving along with them.

  3. Less Human Interaction – This may be obvious, but reducing human interaction in your establishment also increases customer confusion. What are the rules of engagement in a post-COVID world? What is the protocol at the table? Do I need to pour my own wine? How do I get my server’s attention? Communicating your establishment’s processes and protocols on your digital menus can go a long way to easing customers’ anxiety surrounding “how they should behave” while dining. It’s difficult to maintain a high level of customer engagement when we’re supposed to stay 6 feet apart and wear a mask, and your digital assets can go a long way to help customers feel welcome while communicating the unique voice and style of your establishment.

  4. Ever-Changing Health and Public Safety Regulations – Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world and the reality is that new outbreaks will occur, causing state and local guidelines to change on a dime. Digital Menus give you the flexibility to pivot quickly when regulations change. Update offerings and in-store guidelines on the fly, tailor your menu to take-out only and communicate modified hours without a major overhaul of your signage.

  5. Take-Away is Here To Stay – Even with the return of in-person dining stimulating the taste buds of diners, COVID has forever changed the way we think about take-out. Digital menus allow you to create a separate, streamlined take-out offering that doesn’t overwhelm customers with choice or overcomplicate the production and packaging process for your staff. Digital menus also allow you to convey any at-home preparation or serving techniques required to make the meal as enjoyable at home as it would be at the restaurant.

  6. Adjectives Matter – It wasn’t that long ago that the trend in dining was ‘handmade’, but with safety at the top of everyone’s mind, the thought of someone’s hands touching your food might be off putting; there is a shift in food marketing buzzwords coming in 2021 that lean towards cleanliness and sanitation. With digital menus, you are easily able to implement some of these key phrases to ease the insecurities of patrons who might be feeling a bit nervous during their first dinner out in almost a year.


Reestablishing the new “normal” in 2021 isn’t going to be easy, but the establishments that are able to rise to the occasion and use technology, including digital menus, will rise to the top.  Contact us today for a free demo of our software!