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Our 2023 Predictions For Restaurants

Bonji Foods Aficionado Smart Brief: Volume 53

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Hi all, welcome back to the Bonji Food Aficionado Smart Brief! Happy Tuesday and we hope you had an amazing weekend! Can you believe that 2022 is already coming to an end?!? All of sudden, we are wrapping up the year and shifting our focus to the next. In the past, we've accurately predicted a couple of major trends or disruptions for the following year. Thus, we are back, ready to look into our magic crystal ball and help you prepare for what's to come in the restaurant industry in 2023.

Trends To Lookout For In 2023 1. Random Shortages When we were predicting shortages for 2022, we could really only base our thoughts on potential. We had no idea that the first few months of the new year would see a new war, an energy scare, and many other unexpected events. Therefore, it's best to have a loose plan heading into unforeseen territories, nothing too rigid that can burst with any new issue. At this point, we've seen shortages that seemed to come out of thin air. Have you seen the prices of lettuce, especially romaine now? Some cases are over $100! Supply chains are all out-of-whack at the moment, and we do hope to see that steady out a bit in this new year. However, keep in mind that random shortages can stem out of seemingly nowhere.

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2. Mushroom Mania As of now, mushrooms have been booming as a vegan, plant-based alternative to meat. With a low carbon footprint, the mushroom boom also helps sustainability, something that consumers are pushing for continuously throughout the years. Just this year, we've seen mushroom coffee, protein replacements, and many other delicious foods. In fact, this has been the 4th consecutive year that mushrooms have been selected as “ingredients of year” by many trendspotters such as The New York Times, MSNBC, and Specialty Food Magazine. Although it seems like they've been trending up for a while now, 2023 may be the year that you can't get away from mushroom products. Both in retail and at restaurants, expect to see mushroom-infused meals more and more.

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3. Experiences and Entertainment Something we've consistently preached in our blogs and newsletters is the restaurant experience. Over the past two years or so, restaurants have been put through the most. With pandemic problems, inflation, supply chain issues, and so much more, we can't be putting more pressure on restaurants, can we? Well, it seems that consumers still want more. Now, this isn't to say you need to go above and beyond every night of the week to keep guests entertained. Yet, the overall restaurant experience has become increasingly important. With rising prices, customers want an experience worth the price of the meals. This doesn't necessarily mean traditional entertainment either, it could simply be new tech, an expanded menu, or something that will keep guests interested and happy to return. They want more than just a place to eat, they want a full experience.

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4. Tech Heavy Investments Although not surprising to many of us, technology continues to pour into the restaurant industry. Whether it's mobile/digital ordering or a more efficient takeout experience, tech is here to stay and grow. AI technology alone has begun building menus, taking phone orders, or monitoring systems. This may generally take place in larger businesses, but soon enough you'll see many restaurants adapting to the technology, especially those who are struggling to find labor (another trend we hope shifts). Additionally, self-serving kiosks have boomed as of late, offering yet another option to restaurants. We recently wrote about Sweetgreen acquiring Spyce, a fully robot-operated dining experience. Regardless of what tech is introduced, there are going to be heavy investments rolling in throughout 2023.


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