As we head into 2020, here are the industry trends RB’s editors expect to see popping up.
An explosion of ghost kitchens
Consumers are going to continue to demand convenience in 2020, and that means the off-premise boom will continue. As operators continue to examine the best approach to take, ghost kitchens will likely play more in the consideration set. While some will use them essentially as extra kitchen space that can handle the influx in catering and delivery orders, others will turn to them to test out new markets, using data from the ghost kitchen partners and delivery apps to help select potential areas for expansion. —Sara Rush Wirth
The positives, particularly the ability to test a new market before committing big capital, will make the proliferation of these dining-room-less newcomers one of the major trends of the year. The industry just has to figure out what to call them. —Peter Romeo
Franchisees demanding to drive
With “asset light” models now the norm among big chains, franchisees will demand more input on their respective brands’ direction. The battles last year in the McDonald’s and Jack in the Box systems will in hindsight look like the preliminary matches of a long fight card. We may even see more operators landing a seat on franchisors’ boards. –P.R.
More refined/small-batch housemade plant-based items
Versus reliance on heavily processed Impossible/Beyond. —H.L.
Green to go
We've already seen bans on polystyrene and a war on plastic straws. The new year will bring more attention to innovations in packaging that create less waste while still maintaining the quality and integrity of the food transported. One of the first areas we'll see some changes: single-use cups. —S.R.W.