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2023 Foodservice Forecast

Industry Trends, Technology, Serving Solutions

As this year closes, industry experts are making predictions on how operators will fare in 2023. While the foodservice industry is expected to experience flat growth in real terms compared to this year’s numbers, IFMA forecasts that the industry will realize cost inflation of 7.7%, as most foodservice segments are predicted to spend more in 2023 than they did in 2022 – a result of the higher cost of goods rather than increased consumer demand.

Even with increased spending on the horizon, recovery is estimated to begin late in 2023 and continue into 2024, according to Technomic. A few key trends are forecasted to carry over into the new year, which, as an operator, could be used to your advantage to help streamline overall operations.

Let’s explore these trends and how you can leverage them moving forward – all while increasing operational efficiencies with effective equipment solutions:

Turn Labor Troubles Into Triumphs

Ninety-seven percent of restaurateurs say they are short at least one position and, on average, they reported being short five positions.1 Most likely you’ve been challenged with managing a limited staff while trying to increase traffic whether onsite, offsite, or both. Fewer employees mean extra work for those on the clock. Staff is now burdened with handling multiple responsibilities such as taking and preparing orders, covering both host/hostess and server tasks, and chopping garnishes or prepping foods.

Multitasking employees need efficient solutions to expedite their duties. Server Essentials, a line of legacy foodservice products, helps streamline FOH and BOH duties, bringing convenience to your operation while easing your staff’s workload.

  • Cold Serving Stations and Fountain Jar Stations allow staff to easily grab prepared ingredients or quickly dispense sauces and toppings when needing to finish recipes or apply garnishes. Cold serving stations are available in setups of three 1/6-size steam table pans or one 1/6-size steam table pan and three 1/9-size pans. Insulated bases keep foods perfectly chilled and prevent condensation from forming. Clear hinged lids have the option of stay-open or stay-closed operation and showcase ingredients for simple ingredient identification. Fountain jar stations allow for a variety of configurations for ambient and cold applications with options that dispense thin to very thick toppings. Choose from hinged lid or fountain jar arrangements or a mix of both, allowing staff to hold and serve multiple ingredients at once.
  • Soup Warmers keep your prepared soups at the perfect temperature from the first serving to the last. Available options include 5-, 7- and 11-quart single units and 5-quart double and triple units, making it easy to serve multiple flavors or LTO specials. Each NSF-listed rethermalizing unit quickly heats to safe serving temperatures and wrap-around heating elements for each inset eliminate hot spots. Hinged lids return moisture inside to uphold the integrity of your soups. We offer magnet templates for creating your own signature designs to help identify your soup station and generate soup sales.
Technology Investments Continue To Make An Impact

Automation technology is another trend that will take greater precedence in 2023 over previous years as it continues to progress quickly. The right tech investments can cut costs, increase productivity and safety, reduce waste, and stimulate revenue growth. Even though technology involves an initial upfront investment, the right solution will pay off in the long run, and as an operator, you’ll be able to realize real incremental ROI.

You need a partner you can trust to develop a customized solution that meets your business needs. SmartWares® Technology brings exceptional operational efficiencies to your foodservice venue, allowing for seamless implementation and connectivity to your smart equipment in a variety of ways:

  • Instead of staff manually checking food levels, SmartWares can save time by alerting staff as soon as items in your smart equipment need to be replenished or even estimating the amount of time before refilling will be needed. SmartWares Technology can also monitor food temperatures in smart holding equipment. When temps are close to dropping below safe serving temperatures, the equipment warns staff to troubleshoot the issue, providing additional piece of mind for you and enhanced safety for your customers.  
  • SmartWares provides elevated dispensing activation options such as electronically controlling portion sizes to eliminate waste and touch-free interaction through motion, QR code, or voice-activation for simple, turnkey operation. Plus, this technology allows for a connected POS system which reduces order errors and improves back-of-house efficiencies.
  • Data is collected, sent, and stored to a cloud server for ongoing performance-based evaluation and learning of all connected smart equipment so you can make both real-time changes and future adjustments based on historical data.
Smaller Formats Lead to Greater Success

Increased rent and reduced labor have spiked the growth of ghost brands. More casual dining operators are expanding into the quick-service, ghost kitchen business with smaller footprint stores and limited staffing needs, according to Winsight research. If you’re an existing ghost kitchen or an operator currently developing a ghost brand, you need efficient equipment that sets you up for success and serves multiple purposes without a large footprint.

  • IntelliServ® Warmers quickly warm and hold 6 quarts of sauce, soup, or topping in a minimal amount of counterspace. Digital display and temperature controls provide instant feedback on heat setting and status and ensure accurate warming and holding temperatures all day. IntelliServ Warmers pass NSF Rethermalization requirements by heating foods to safe serving temps before bacteria have a chance to grow.
  • Tiered Stations organize and keep condiments, syrups and flavorings, toppings, and snack bags within reach for easy access and quick dispensing in space-saving tiered WireWise racks or serving stations. Adding ingredients to beverages, including chips in delivery orders and topping burgers or sandwiches or filling ramekins is simple and efficient.
  • SlimLine Dispensers and Dry Dispensers provide precise portions of dry candies, toppings, and mix-in ingredients for consistent flavor from serving to serving and greater cost control – with options that take up 13" or less of wall or countertop space. These simple yet super functional units are ideal for yogurt, ice cream, dessert, and smoothie add-ins or toppings. Color-coded trays identify portions easily from ½-ounce up to 1 ½-ounce serving.

While experts anticipate the foodservice industry to experience slow growth in 2023, you can realize operational efficiencies with smart equipment solutions that streamline front- and back-of-house processes.

For additional ways to improve efficiency in your operation, read blogs Serving Solutions to Enhance Beverage Offerings and Integrated Connectivity Drives Productivity & Quality Control.

1 The State of the Industry Report in 2023, TouchBistro