Restaurant Trends 2021: What’s New and What’s Here to Stay

2021 has been a challenging year for the restaurant industry. With the pandemic still looming large, many restaurants have had to adapt to the changing landscape, whether that means pivoting to takeout and delivery or investing in outdoor dining spaces. As we look ahead to the future, here are some of the biggest restaurant trends that are shaping the industry in 2021 and beyond.

Emphasis on Safety and Sanitation

It’s no surprise that safety and sanitation have become top priorities for restaurants in 2021. In the wake of the pandemic, diners have become more conscious of hygiene and cleanliness, and restaurants are taking steps to reassure them. That means more frequent and rigorous cleaning of surfaces, as well as new protocols for the handling of food and the use of personal protective equipment. Some restaurants have even invested in new technologies, like UV disinfection, to ensure that their spaces are as clean and safe as possible.

Increased Focus on Comfort Food

With all the uncertainty and stress of the past year, it’s no surprise that diners are craving comfort food more than ever. That means dishes like mac and cheese, fried chicken, and burgers are having a moment. But comfort food doesn’t have to be unhealthy – many chefs are putting a modern twist on classic dishes, using fresh and high-quality ingredients to create dishes that are both indulgent and nourishing.

Sustainable Practices

As more and more consumers become conscious of their impact on the environment, restaurants are starting to adopt sustainable practices in their operations. That could mean everything from using local and seasonal ingredients to reducing food waste through composting and recycling. Some restaurants are even going zero-waste, using all parts of the animal or plant in their dishes to minimize waste. Sustainability isn’t just good for the planet – it can also be good for business, as consumers increasingly seek out eco-friendly dining options.

Off-Premises Dining

In order to survive the pandemic, many restaurants have had to pivot to off-premises dining options like takeout and delivery. But even as the pandemic wanes, it looks like off-premises dining is here to stay. Many diners have grown accustomed to the convenience of ordering food to go, and restaurants are finding new ways to make it work for them. That could mean investing in dedicated takeout spaces, partnering with third-party delivery services, or creating menus that are designed specifically for takeout and delivery.


With consumers increasingly interested in where their food comes from, many restaurants are embracing hyperlocalism in their menus. That means sourcing ingredients from nearby farms and producers, and even growing their own fruits and vegetables on-site. Hyperlocalism not only supports local farmers and businesses, but it also ensures that diners are getting the freshest and most flavorful ingredients possible.


2021 has been a year of rapid change for the restaurant industry, as it has adapted to the challenges of the pandemic while also embracing new trends and technologies. Whether it’s a renewed emphasis on safety and sanitation, a focus on comfort food, or a commitment to sustainability, restaurants are finding new and innovative ways to connect with diners and keep their businesses thriving in uncertain times.