Restaurant Trends 2021



As people become more comfortable going back out to restaurants, dining will be seen more as an experience than just one’s next meal. Restaurants will have to step up their menus and overall experience to give diners a memorable time. 

With all the home cooking of 2020, dining out will feel like a special occasion and hopefully kickstart the restaurant industry once again. Here are a few adjustments and trends that will be seen in restaurants in 2021. 


Nostalgia and Comfort

The turbulence of 2020 had foodies longing for a restaurant-made meal. A return back to nostalgia for the times before will be a top trend of 2021. A sense of balance will be a focus on the chef’s menus. Feel-good foods will have guests feeling like they are back to a bit of normality. Cheese trends like feta mac and cheese and truffle cheeseburgers are some trendy comfort foods that will have mouths watering, I know it has mine!


Contactless Services, Sanitization

Contactless pick-ups and payments will play an important role in restaurants that are still trying to flatten curves. Reducing human contact with apps that use QR codes and phone technology is helping restaurants stay open while adhering to government safety regulations. 


Keeping sanitization a priority will be key to keeping guests safe and feeling at ease. Touchless hand sanitizers, face masks, gloves, etc. should be in abundance to ensure workers’ and customers’ safety.


Let’s turn to the important stuff…the food and drinks!


Nutrition Importance

Although comfort foods are a big trend, the importance of the nutrition and health benefits we can get from our food is trending too. During a pandemic, boosting one’s immune system has become central to families. Making delicious food that boosts many nutritional ingredients can be a key attraction to guests and customers. Drinks with added turmeric and ginger all boost immune systems. Pack in nutrition-dense foods to menus. 


Veganism, Plant-based Options

Thes urge for plant-based foods will continue into 2021. As plant-based foods and veganism is seen as much more sustainable for our plant, this trend should continue to thrive and spread. As more and more people seek vegan options, chefs are getting creative and creating delicious alternatives to animal products. 

Tofu has always been an important addition to the vegetarian diet. Now, tofu is being cooked and used in many ways. Tofu scramble has become a popular breakfast item. Another alternative, jack fruit. Jack fruit has the consistency of red meat and doesn’t hold a strong taste. Comfort food like bolognese and ‘pulled pork’ sliders are being made with jackfruit. 

Liquors over Wine

A focus on liquors over wine will be a top beverage trend in 2021. Tequilas and Mezcal are a few of the popular liquors of 2021. Adding top-shelf liquors to the bar for foodies and trend followers can ensure that extra drink or two. Why not add a mezcal margarita? 



Although it may sound cheesy, as cheesy as the feta cheese trend, hope is not only a trend but a necessity for the future of our industry. As we anxiously await vaccines and restaurants to start bustling again with satisfied customers, we have all the hope that 2021 will full our restaurants as well as our appetites. 

The article was written by Christine Fay Smith

“Christine is a freelance lifestyle writer who focuses on interior and hospitality design. Graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Christine has embraced her knowledge of the visual world with her passion for culture and the exploration of visual experiences.”