It is that time of year again: everyone puts out their predictions for next year’s hottest restaurant trends. Which ingredients will top menus? What is the next big fad diet? What dining experiences will be hot? But many of these trend predictions leave out one of the most important aspects of a restaurant: the staff. Here are our predictions for how the top three trends will affect restaurant employment in 2022:
Full-Service Restaurants Step Aside
To-go orders boomed in 2021, and all signs point to that continuing next year. Fewer diners entering restaurants means front-of-house hiring needs will slow down. Instead, employers will need to focus more on staffing back-of-house to handle the influx in off-premises orders. Restaurants that realize the cost of doing business with third-party delivery apps may begin to hire their own delivery drivers.
This will also fan the flames of another trend: Ghost Kitchens. Restaurants facing physical limitations need a way to keep up with to-go orders without hurting on-premise business. Ghost kitchens allow restaurants to move those orders to a second location without opening up a second full location.
Restaurant Technology Takes Over Hourly Work
Restaurant technology has boomed in the last two years and will continue to do so in 2022. This is mostly to address the shift in cleanliness and service expectations from COVID. However, most of those solutions also provide a way for employers to operate with a shortage of hourly workers. Self-serve kiosks and mobile ordering apps will reduce the need for front-of-house staff, especially in the growing fast-casual market.
In a more extreme but less common situation, some restaurants have invested in robots that can handle basic line cooking. Those roles that do remain will need to be flexible enough to troubleshoot any technical issues that arise. As automation takes over many roles, tipping structures may begin to shift as well.
Customers Demand Wellness
Multiple surveys and reports show that consumers are placing more importance on health when choosing food. The restaurant industry will not only need to modify their menus to address this but also their employees’ skillsets. Management must be able to adjust supplies to reflect the preference change, especially since fresh, healthy foods tend to have shorter shelf lives. Employees need to understand special dietary needs since gluten-free eating and paleo diets are still popular.
Find Adaptable Restaurant Leadership
Restaurants need adaptable leaders to guide teams through changing trends. Experienced restaurant recruiters like the ones at Horizon Hospitality can find the talent to help your restaurant keep up with changes. Contact us to learn how.