Trends in the restaurant industry for 2024: A guide for restaurant owners

Maja Jankowska's photo

Maja Jankowska

Restaurant trends for 2024

As we look towards 2024, the restaurant industry is poised for innovative changes. The trend is leaning towards value-driven consumer behavior, with a focus on experiences and quality. According to insights from The Food Institute, consumers are increasingly price-sensitive, exploring more channels to find value. 

There’s a noticeable shift towards fast-casual dining, driven by the ease of mobile ordering and takeout. This trend is not just a pandemic-era anomaly but a permanent change in consumer behavior.

This article delves into the key trends shaping the industry, offering valuable insights for owners to strategize and thrive.

What is trending in flavors for 2024?

For restaurant owners, understanding flavor trends is crucial. In 2024, the trend is not just about specific flavors, but about offering a unique and experiential dining experience. This trend indicates a shift towards diverse and possibly international flavors, as consumers seek novel dining experiences. 

As a restaurant owner, focusing on creating unique flavor profiles and incorporating global cuisine elements can be a key differentiator. This approach not only caters to the adventurous palate of modern diners but also sets your establishment apart in a competitive market.

What is the next big food trend?

2024 is expected to be a year marked by innovation in the restaurant sector. This includes the adoption of automation, which can save labor costs and potentially increase food quality. For restaurant owners, this means considering investments in technology that can streamline operations and enhance the customer experience. 

One such example is the implementation of systems like resOS, a restaurant management system. resOS offers a range of features designed to optimize restaurant operations, from table management and booking systems to simplified order handling and customer feedback analysis.

resOS button

Additionally, a significant change in dining habits is the trend of early dining, with shifts towards late afternoon and early evening meals. This shift presents an opportunity for restaurant owners to adjust their service hours and marketing strategies to cater to this emerging customer preference.

Key statistics and strategies for restaurant owners

Technology and automation

The integration of technology in restaurant operations is not just a trend but a necessity. From online ordering systems to kitchen automation, these technologies can help reduce costs, improve efficiency, and enhance the dining experience.

By integrating a system like resOS, restaurant owners can not only improve efficiency but also gain valuable insights into customer preferences and behavior, enabling them to make data-driven decisions that enhance the dining experience.

Consumer spending shifts

In January 2023, there was a strong start in both retail and overall dining spending from consumers compared to the previous year. However, as the year progressed, these trends reversed, with consumers eating out less and staying in more, preparing for the winter amid an uncertain economy.

Value and experience 

Consumers remain price-sensitive and are exploring more channels to find value. Entertainment venues are doing well, with 25-30% increased foot traffic (according to Chains with unique experiences are making up ground, indicating that experiential concepts are really doing well.

Dining time shifts 

There’s a swift change toward late afternoon/early evening dining across categories, with reservation times moving up and fewer visits in the late hours. Late-night dining is also experiencing a resurgence, particularly at certain fast-food chains.

Consumer priorities and preferences for 2024

Statistics for retaurant trends
Source: What customers expect from restaurants in 2024

What are diners looking for in 2024? The infographic reveals a fascinating trend: it’s all about value and experience. A whopping 52% of consumers now prioritize quality time with loved ones as their top reason for dining out, highlighting the social joy of eating out. Not far behind, 45% seek great value for their money, showing that savvy spending is still key.

But that’s not all. Health is on the menu too, with 20% opting for healthier options. Meanwhile, 18% are eager to spice things up by trying new and adventurous dishes. Quick service still matters for 14%, and 9% are looking for dining with an entertainment twist. Surprisingly, only 5% focus on the meal’s popularity itself.

For restaurant owners and marketers, this is a goldmine of insights. It’s clear: to win hearts (and appetites) in 2024, focus on crafting memorable experiences, delivering bang for the buck, and catering to the health-conscious and convenience-seekers. 

Outlook for 2024

Statistics from The Food Institute
Information source: The Future of Restaurants—Data and Insights for 2024 and Beyond

Looking ahead to 2024, industry expert Hottovy (Head of Analytical Research at identifies a trend shift from the shelter of 2021 to consumer adjustments in 2022 and inflation challenges in 2023. Characterizing the upcoming year as the year of innovation, he underscores the rising demand for value and convenience.