The Biggest Trends for Your Restaurant This Year

Just about every customer service industry will see its fair share of new and emerging trends, which can alter a company’s product line up for the brief lifespan of that particular fad, or go on to revolutionize the way they do business in years to come. Within the hospitality sector, at least, one of the most successful food trends of recent years has been the emergence of organic restaurants, as customers actively seek out fresher, more nutritious products in an effort to reduce the impacts of global warming. 


But, of course, the most significant change to the industry – and indeed the world – this year has been the coronavirus pandemic and how rapidly it forced businesses into a sink-or-swim approach to covering their overhead. Many restaurants closed their doors but kept the lights on with home delivery, and by renting out ghost kitchens to maintain their product supply for hungry customers. These are just some of the emerging trends to have secured a near-permanent position throughout this pandemic, but as we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, here are some of the trends restauranteurs should be paying attention to in 2021.

Plant-based meat products

This has been a trend on the rise for some time now, but the last two or so years have seen a marked emergence of plant-based meats into the mainstream. What once began as a relatively niche product, championed by only the most ardent vegans and environmentalists, has now secured its place on the menus of independent restaurants and fast food chains the world over. Major brands such as Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s and even Subway have introduced meat-free alternatives for their eco-conscious customers, as public awareness of the damage caused by the food industry becomes more widespread.

 pair of plant-based meats in brown seeded bun on white ceramic serving platter

In particular, the manufacture of meat products is one of the world’s most alarming business practices, as there is an enormous volume of land clearance witnessed each year to create grazing grounds for cows and poultry. Beside the enormous volume of resources needed to feed these animals, the emissions produced are far more concerning: nearly 15% of all greenhouse emissions globally are produced by cattle. The push for plant-based meats, then, is to drive down demand for cattle and reduce the environmental damage that goes into rearing them for slaughter.

The demise of the sharing platter

It won’t be much of a surprise to anyone that sharing plates and birthday cakes won’t be on the menu for a long while, given their capacity for harboring germs and spreading them among other members of a dining party (and you probably never considered how unhygienic it might be to eat a cake someone has sprayed with saliva molecules while blowing out those candles…) Adapting to the far stricter health and safety requirements of running a business in the time of COVID-19, many restaurant owners are taking the single-serve approach in which once communal dishes are now contained to just one plate.


This means the large serving platter or cheesy nacho bowl may not be making an appearance for some time; or at least in a much smaller size for individual diners rather than entire tables. This does afford businesses the chance to be much more experimental with their starters menu, though, as well as getting more returns on the cost of making your product. Rather than serving just one large table-sized portion of a dish, it can now be split into individual servings to help you cover your overhead. These smaller plates also allow for a more eclectic range of desserts and cupcakes to overcome the restrictions against sharing platters: now you can delight customers with cute, small-scale variants of desserts that would previously have been shared between two or more diners.

Eco-friendly packaging

Like many of the trends to have really caught on within the past year, eco-friendly packaging had already been appearing in restaurants across the world as businesses sought ways to shrink their carbon footprint and reduce the amount of waste they generate. You may well have seen recyclable paper straws in your local bar before COVID-19 came about, but in 2021 you will likely find all kinds of materials used in the manufacture of your takeaway boxes and cups. Innovations in the fast food industry beginning to generate traction include the use of soft, biodegradable balsa wood from tree stumps unfit for use as furniture, and compostable cardboard liners to contain the run-off from especially juicy burgers.

 overhead view of recyclable bags and cups

The impetus behind more recyclable materials in 2021 comes as a direct result of the titanic volumes of waste produced across the last year, in an effort to balance out the environmental damage involved. Recent studies found that almost 130 billion face masks are used and disposed of every month, equivalent to more than three masks every minute. If this pandemic has made us all much more aware of our personal health and physical wellbeing, it will hopefully have activated greater consciousness as to the effect we have on the wellbeing of the world around us.


Remember up top how we mentioned increasing demand for fresh, organic produce? Well that was no accident – at Buffalo Market, we live and breathe farm-fresh ingredients, and our mission is to make it easier than ever for households and businesses nationwide to take delivery of the very best California has to offer. Based in one of the US’s great food hubs, San Francisco, we work closely with small-scale independent farmers all across the state in order to secure delicious, crisp, colorful fruits and vegetables at the most competitive wholesale prices. And not only that, we deliver straight to your door, where you can be safe in the knowledge your order will be as fresh upon arrival as it was the moment it left the farm.  


With over 2,600 items in our constantly updated inventory, stocking new produce the moment it comes into season, you can be sure of getting market-quality ingredients at their ripest and most flavorsome. And better yet, every cent of your purchase goes straight back to the farmer, because at Buffalo Market we’re about as keen on middlemen as we are on artificial colors and preservatives (which is to say, not one bit!). Why not take a look at the fantastic produce we have on offer and see how you can incorporate a more organic diet into your lifestyle today?

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