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11 food, beverage and design predictions for restaurants in 2021

New prototypes, the emergence of consumer-packaged goods, the new food hall and more trends Nation’s Restaurant News’ editors predict for the new year

The restaurant world was turned upside down by the global coronavirus pandemic in 2020, and that shaped many of the trends we at Nation’s Restaurant News expect to see next year. Still, there are menu flavors and consumer behaviors that will drive restaurant sales in the coming year.

December is the season of projection, wrapping up a year when the prognosis for many is grim.

But there is hope, with multiple vaccines in the works and recently given emergency FDA approval, and many say 2021 will mark a return to some sense of pre-pandemic normalcy.

Expect to see more technology supporting touch-free interactions, even more expansion of virtual brands and off-premise sales, consumer-packaged goods coming from more restaurants, social media and Gen Z directing marketing initiatives, and authentically spicy flavors.

Be sure to also check out our predictions for independent restaurants here.

Here are some of the trends NRN editors predict for the next year in the industry.


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