Restaurant of the Future: 5 Things to Consider When Investing

Thinking of investing in a restaurant? Find out what restaurant trends are predicted for the future and what new concepts are leading to big profits.


The global COVID-19 pandemic has been a roller coaster for the food industry and restaurant operators everywhere. Navigating lockdowns, dine-in capacity limitations, and social distancing have led restauranteurs to get creative in finding new ways to serve guests and maintain success.

While the pandemic presented exceptional challenges for the restaurant industry, fast-casual concepts are on track to grow by more than 10% CAGR over the next five years. Bridging the gap between full service and fast food, the fast-casual restaurant industry is filled with an endless amount of flavorful potential. Diners can take their pick of virtually any type of cuisine under the sun, and the top fast-casual restaurants appeal to the growing consumer demand for meals that are convenient, inexpensive, and healthier than the traditional fast-food franchise.

With widespread vaccinations and fewer restrictions in place, we seem to be transitioning toward a new normal. So that begs the questions: What’s next for the restaurant industry? Which innovations and restaurant consumer trends will we see on the horizon? How should you approach owning a restaurant of the future?


Judging by the proliferation of fast-casual restaurants over the past few decades and the monumental growth of the food delivery industry during the pandemic, it’s clear that customers crave convenience — and they’ll continue to expect it for years to come.

Tied to this desire for convenience is an expectation for personalization. Diners will expect the restaurant of the future to be as customized and relevant as other industries. If consumers receive highly personalized emails featuring relevant products from their favorite retailers, they will expect an analogous experience from restaurants — from marketing messages to meals. Personalized convenience is a restaurant consumer trend that is here to stay.


Third-party food delivery services became a lifeline for both restaurants and their patrons with the onset of the pandemic, and our reliance on this convenient option is here to stay. Even as restaurants reopen their doors for in-person dining around the world, 71% of consumers questioned in a recent survey said they would continue to order delivery as much as or more than they did during the onset of the pandemic.

Having a presence on multiple online ordering apps is a necessity, as is direct ordering capabilities off the restaurant’s website. Restaurateurs must prioritize planning for a digital menu with food quality and delivery taken into consideration. Digital is at the core of the restaurant of the future. From ordering to payment to other forms of interaction, digital channels are here to stay. To engage guests, restaurants will increasingly create digital experiences that are easy and fun to use and encourage customer loyalty. Anyone who owns a smartphone can navigate an app, and restaurants that offer more digital options are reaping the benefits.


The menu of the future will need to follow the new behaviors that consumers have adopted in the past couple of years. Overloaded menus that try to be everything to everyone will not be successful moving forward. Streamlining the menu to focus on delicious food without overwhelming the customer with choices will help businesses effectively manage their costs.

Most restaurants with traditional menus operate under the rough estimation that 80% of your profits come from about 20% of your menu items. Every conventional menu has its most popular items and its items that don’t receive as much interest, but you still must purchase all the ingredients. A slimmer menu with focused options means less inventory to manage. Chefs will take a creative approach toward minimizing waste while amplifying flavor from a carefully curated selection of ingredients.


Studies show that repeat customers can account for as much as 80% of all restaurant sales. Direct online ordering and reservation platforms allow you to collect and store data about your guests. When you have information about your guests, such as their dining history and preferences, you can both reach out to them and anticipate their needs. After a couple years with limited options and access, your guests will greatly appreciate your attention and care to make them feel like VIPs.

Utilizing social media and other interactive digital platforms promotes customer engagement that translates into new conversions and loyalty retention. For some restaurants, this may mean enticing customers with proprietary apps, loyalty points, and limited time offers to attract business.


Wayback Burgers prides itself on being honest and uncomplicated while keeping an eye toward innovation and emerging trends since its humble beginnings. By providing guests with a focused menu, seasonal specials, and loyalty benefits, Wayback Burgers entices diners to keep coming back.

For prospective franchisees, Wayback Burgers offers a proven business model and unwavering support to help you meet your goals and beyond. Past, present, and future: Wayback Burgers is in it for the long haul, and we invite you to join us.

To learn more about franchising opportunities, get started with Wayback Burgers today.