The pandemic dealt the restaurant industry a huge blow. At times all of the challenges honestly felt insurmountable. Yet we as a people – as restaurateurs – always rise to the occasion. And so we tackled supply chain issues, labor shortages, and rising costs with ingenuity and tenacity. Together, as an industry, we pioneered new and improved ways to serve our patrons and accomplish our goals.

The trends shaping our industry in 2022 are driven by technology, off-premise demand, and growing interest in meat alternatives. Read on to learn more about three of these trends and to determine if any might benefit your own business.

Trend #1: Providing Smaller Menus With Fewer Options 

Menus are changing as a result of the pandemic and all of its ramifications. They’ve become shorter with fewer offerings as restaurateurs have contended with rising food costs and supply chain problems. It’s hard to include steak on the menu when you either can’t afford to buy it or can’t get your hands on it in the first place, right? Restaurants have also trimmed their menus to speed up their delivery and take-out processes as well.

Many customers prefer the smaller, more focused menus. Plus, it’s been found that offering limited menu items can reduce both food waste and labor costs. And providing fewer options can also lessen the pressure in the kitchen when it’s hard to hire enough cooks. If you decide to give this a try yourself, remember that you can easily keep your menus up-to-date across the internet for free on

It’s been interesting to watch as this trend towards simplification merges with another recent change in menus: making them contactless.

Trend #2: Switching to Contactless Dining

As you may already know, contactless dining refers to using technology in place of a physical menu and removing other points of contact between diners, staff, and items. Patrons are quickly becoming accustomed to this new way of accessing menus, ordering, and paying. In fact, a recent study found that over 80% of diners are in favor of restaurants continuing to use contactless ordering and payments after the pandemic ends, and 8 out of 10 folks find it cleaner, more efficient, and faster.

There are several benefits to using contactless menus. For one, they are easy to update (unlike physical menus) for holidays, due to food shortages, according to customer preferences, and so on. Digitizing the ordering and payment processes also make the customer experience more efficient (potentially creating more revenue for you with people moving in and out quicker) and enjoyable, eliminating the need for patrons to wait for servers to provide menus and checks. When they can order for themselves, it’s also quicker, more accurate, and allows for your (sometimes limited) staff to focus on other responsibilities. If you’d like to try using contactless menus in your restaurant, create one for free today on

Trend #3: Investing in Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Over the next few years, anything plant-based is expected to explode. This includes “plant-pretender products” like so-called shrimp, chicken, pork, etc., that are made out of plants and true vegetarian options (plants that are indeed plants but have been prepared in a more exotic or unusual manner). McDonalds is even testing out a McPlant sandwich that has been selling like hotcakes (around 500 a week, much higher than expected).

One advantage of this trend is that plant-based foods cost less than meat. As inflation drastically rises and restaurateurs have to contend with price hikes on meat because of supply chain shortages, this gives them (you) a more cost-effective menu alternative that many customers appreciate and like. And they really do like it – the plant-based meat industry is expected to balloon from $11 billion in 2019 to more than $35 billion in 2027.

A Recap: Three Restaurant Trends in 2022

The pandemic has undoubtedly changed the restaurant industry, perhaps indefinitely. But not all of these changes were necessarily bad ones. If we look, we can find several potential opportunities – like shortening our menus, going contactless, or investing in more plant-based options – that might just boost our revenue and improve our customers’ experiences if we give them a chance.

Don’t forget to take advantage of all the free benefits Sirved has to offer your restaurant, including the ability to easily keep your menus and information up-to-date across the internet, complimentary advertising solutions, access to an easy-to-use QR code generator for contactless menus, the option to connect your third-party reservation platform to Sirved so customers can make reservations right from your Sirved restaurant page, and more. Learn more and gain access to your 100% free Sirved toolkit by claiming your restaurant listing today.