Insights That Could Impact Your Operation.

We know times are tough for all businesses out there. The foodservice industry is no exception, having undergone several challenges, from labor shortages and supply chain issues to rising inflation rates, with world food prices jumping by 28% in 2021 alone.

On the bright side, consumers are taking care of their physical and mental well-being, and from a technological standpoint we’re embracing digital transformation sooner than originally planned. The world is moving faster than ever, and we want to help you stay on top of it with the top foodservice trends in 2022.

Mindfulness on the Menu

Remember to always keep your customers’ intentions top of mind. By digging into the top environmental trends, we found a surge in operations adopting trends like upcycling their food or product waste, using more energy-efficient equipment, and investing in more sustainable and even edible packaging.

There are a handful of restaurant operations that are adopting the use of their own vertical farming for in-house produce in 2022 through methods like hydroponics, which uses chemically nutrient-rich water in place of soil. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it can save space and money for operators. 

Socially Conscious

Customer demand for full transparency from operators has continued to increase over the past several years and shows no signs of slowing down. Customers expect easy-to-find information about where their food is from and what it has in it. To appeal to this sensibility, more and more operators are sourcing their produce from a local producer so they have a relevant story to tell. Brands like CropSwap and Chipotle are encouraging this behavior by raving about it on their own apps and showing where they get their produce from locally.

But social consciousness is about more than the customer. Operations are looking inside their own four walls to help address the high employee turnover rate caused by the often high-stress nature of the industry. Operators are implementing programs with fewer working hours, team psychologists, incentive programs, and more to keep employees healthy and motivated.

 Being Better to Me

There have always been health-conscious consumers out there – attention to personal wellness is not a new concept. Americans today are seeking to align choices in their diet with foods that have health benefits, more often prioritizing foods that boost immunity, metabolism, and mental health. What this suggests is that consumers are not only label-conscious, but they also want to make informed decisions in diet and consumption habits, opting for products with claims of “all natural” and “real ingredients” as a way of being healthier. For operators, this means that offering healthy products that exemplify quality and food transparency could be a point of differentiation (of course, if the supply chain allows it), as well as a positive positioning as advocates for consumer health.

Operators can also expect increased demands toward inclusion of plant-based menu items. We can share some of the key reasons to integrate these alternatives into your foodservice menu as well, especially as they continue to grow in popularity.


On the topic of menu reinvention, the desire for luxury experiences has also been highly prevalent, as consumers are trading in the QSRs and the drive-throughs for fine dining restaurants and high-end premium products. Premium is no longer just for special occasions; many people have shifted their budgets toward going all out on premium spirits, ingredients, personalized menus, or superior cuts of meat.

Some of the top Michelin-star establishments, such as Alinea in Chicago, Single Thread in California, Acadia in Maine, and Bresca in D.C., have already quickly pivoted their menus toward luxury dining on the go in order to capture the heightened interest in luxury items.


Due to being cooped inside during the pandemic, technology has accelerated faster than in the past years. Competition played a big role in this, and we can see how it’s made its mark with apps for loyalty programs or high-class restaurant subscriptions dedicated to giving their customers full-service dining experiences.

The foodservice industry is also growing its use of technology with artificial intelligence, like the robotic kitchen that cooks food in three minutes or less, as well as testing self-driving food delivery systems.

The Metaverse

You may be asking yourself: What exactly is the metaverse? We can answer that for you. The metaverse encapsulates anything that allows us to interact virtually, from something as intricate as virtual reality all the way to the use of social media.

There is so much untapped potential for the foodservice industry in the metaverse right now, with ideas like shopping in retail stores from the comfort of your own home and utilizing augmented reality.

Cryptocurrency is also growing in popularity and taking NFTs along for the ride, with well-known foodservice brands offering a limited amount of them. We even have our first members-only private dining experience, Flyfish Club, which consumers can only enter if they have an NFT token.

Our 2022 Trends Report gives in-depth insight as to ways in which operators will have to continue to adapt their menus and operation models to respond to not only the labor challenges and supply chain issues hampering the industry, but also to the evolving demands of health-conscious, socially conscious, and environmentally conscious consumers. These changes in behavior may be here for the long run as we move toward a post-pandemic landscape, which presents new opportunities for operators today to meet those needs.

We can help get your business ahead with the latest trends. Contact David Melnick, partner and EVP of Brand Integration, at 410.336.1000 or to schedule time to talk about these trends.

By Celeste Milner & Brennan Nolan, Account Executives

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