For the first time, people are starting to think about life after the pandemic and wonder “what’s next”? The pandemic spurred a lot of new trends – many of them good. Many households found ways to enjoy the outdoors amidst local lockdowns, there was a 12% increase in pet adoptions, and you could suddenly order your favorite meal from the local restaurant downtown. 

Many restaurants have worked out their delivery process throughout the last year and a half and now offer a seamless delivery experience. With 2022 approaching more quickly every day, it seems certain that this explosion of food delivery options is here to stay. Many new food delivery trends came to life in 2021, keep reading to learn which ones will stick around and grow in 2022.

Zero Waste
There are many upsides to ordering food delivery. With low contact or zero contact delivery, many people found it to be the safer alternative to eating out during the pandemic this year. On top of that, food delivery gives you the opportunity to eat from your favorite restaurants, all while binge-watching your favorite TV show from the comfort of your couch. Unfortunately, one downside to food delivery is that the use of single-use containers is on the rise. Normally when you visit a restaurant in person, you eat on dishes that are washed, sanitized, and reused over and over again. On the other hand, your food delivery containers, even if they are recyclable or biodegradable, are only single-use items.

The zero waste movement is gaining popularity for many reasons, including the obvious environmental benefits, and many restaurants are jumping on board. We are now seeing restaurants all over the country beginning to offer their food in reusable containers.  These restaurants will charge a flat fee per container and refund it to the customer once the container is returned. In addition, many restaurants offer direct drop-off options, or diners can even return their containers to the delivery personnel the next time they order delivery. With both food delivery on the rise and zero waste options becoming more desirable, you are very likely to see reusable delivery containers from your local restaurants in 2022.

Meal Kits
Meal kits from online retailers have exploded in popularity in the last several years. It’s not hard to see why because there’s a lot to love about meal kits. These customizable kits offer fresh, delicious, and easy-to-prepare meals AND at surprisingly competitive prices. At least once a month, you’re likely to hear someone raving about a new dish they had, courtesy of their weekly meal kit. Also, as someone who chronically forgets about leftovers in the fridge, meal kits send precisely the amount of food you need per portion. This way, you never have to worry about evacuating your kitchen after disposing of a particularly old and moldy and somehow soupy container of pork chops ever again.

Restaurants are quickly catching on to this trend and beginning to offer meal delivery kits of your favorite dishes. They’ll pre-measure your ingredients, provide simple recipe instructions, and some can get creative with their packaging options. Unfortunately for those hoping to learn the secret recipe to their local burger joint’s famous dipping sauce, that will probably still come pre-mixed. Nevertheless, these meal kits delivered from your local restaurants will typically have all of the same benefits that are credited for making online meal kits explode in popularity, and you get to support your local restaurant in the process.

Ghost Kitchens
Ghost kitchens are not your favorite restaurant kitchen turned into a spooky haunted house extravaganza, as the Halloween lovers reading this might hope. Ghost kitchens are also known as off-premise kitchens and allow many restaurants with limited kitchen sizes to offer food delivery options. Many hospitality or restaurant groups can coordinate a shared space between them to save on utilities, equipment costs, and staffing costs. Because these facilities do not have to be in a hot real estate location, they also make it more affordable for restaurants to offer delivery services. As we see food delivery options becoming more and more popular, so will the popularity of ghost kitchens.

In-House Delivery
Food delivery has been around for ages, and restaurants were already increasingly adding delivery options pre-covid. Many of these restaurants turned to third-party delivery services which are still around today, even though these services typically charged high commission fees. The reason many of these restaurants turned to third-party delivery services were to avoid the headache of managing drivers, allocating mileage reimbursement, and integrating the delivery software into their POS systems.

New technology is making it easier for restaurants to integrate their delivery services into their POS systems. Plus, restaurants have more control over the customer experience and are seeing better customer satisfaction as a result. In fact, 63% of restaurant customers actually prefer to place their orders directly with the restaurant – and restaurants are embracing this. With so many restaurants realizing the benefits of offering in-house delivery, this is a trend that we will see gain a lot of momentum in the coming months. Check out TechRyde’s solutions to make your online ordering experience seamless. 

Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs have been around for a long, long time. Remember those business card-sized punch cards that generously awarded you one free coffee after you bought ten? Nowadays, you’re unlikely to find a rewards program with the classic punch card because restaurants are turning to apps to record and track users’ purchases. Many restaurants offer rewards on a points-based system and can get creative with how they reward their customers. Amongst other rewards, customers can redeem their points for various prizes like discounted appetizers, BOGOs, company merch, and free delivery. With technology becoming more engrained in our everyday lives, we will likely see restaurants increasingly offer loyalty programs via their food delivery apps in 2022.

Now that you know the top trends coming down the pipeline for delivery, you can ensure your restaurant will be ready for the new year. 

What does zero waste mean?
The zero waste movement is focused on preventing waste by encouraging the redesign of everyday objects that are typically single-use items. The ultimate goal is to lessen the amount of trash that is sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. Some common products that have recently been redesigned include reusable straws and grocery bags.

What is a POS system?
A restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system is what businesses use to accept payments from customers and keep track of their sales. Traditionally it was the cash register, but more recently has evolved into entirely digital POS systems.

What does BOGO stand for?

BOGO is a sales promotion that restaurants frequently use and stands for “buy one, get one (free).”