C-Store Chain Rest. Grow Manage Tips & Trends 4 min read

2024 restaurant trends to watch (and past ones we’ve loved!)


With the dawn of a new year, it’s the perfect time to indulge our curiosity with the trends that are poised to shape the months ahead. But before we dive in, let’s do a little rewind and reflect on the ones that paved the way here, including new packaging technologies for food, restaurant design trends and, of course, food & drink trends.

What was trending in 2022…

Can’t touch this. 

In the wake of the pandemic, the demand for contactless touchpoints surged and changed the way businesses approached traditional customer service forever. And there’s no going back. As businesses continue to find ways to elevate the customer experience, there’s still a big appetite for the convenience and efficiency of contactless solutions. 

To check out the other cool gadgets and technology for restaurants that shaped 2022, read 5 restaurant tech trends & gadgets to watch in 2022

The enviro-chic movement. 

When it comes to methods of food packaging, eco-consciousness is always in style. This trend started to blow up back in 2022 and it’s definitely here to stay. From wooden utensils to sustainable food packaging ideas (like this one from our Partners over at Friendlier), consumers have continued to align with businesses that care about the planet and prioritize green choices in every aspect of the customer experience. 

Check out 5 food packaging trends you need to know about.

The whole kit and kaboodle.

Another popular pandemic product? DIY food and drink kits. Not only did it help restaurants make up for the loss of in-person dining dollars, but it also made cooking at home a whole lot more interesting. And thanks to their convenience and cost-effectiveness, these tasty DIY meal kits are still on the menu for those who want a delicious home-cooked meal but don’t have the time to get ‘er done. 

To learn how a few restaurants      engaged in the trend across the country, read The rise of restaurant DIY meal & drink kits in Canada.

Cheers to buzz-free beers (and more!)     

Back in 2022, when the movement toward better health and wellness was on the up and up, dry drinks were soon to follow. While 0% beer was already around for some time, new non-alcoholic spirits and coolers were popping up all over the place. Now? People are still looking to lighten their liquor load with booze-free social challenges, like Sober October and Dry January.     

For more food trends for 2022, check out our blog Now Serving | 2022 Food Trends.

What was trending in 2023…

Kickin’ it old school. 

Nostalgia was right up there in the online grocery market of 2023, with the return of our favourite childhood treats, like Dunkaroos and Oreo Cakesters. This year the trend is set to continue, but with a healthier twist, as companies are creating better-for-you versions of the hits, like      pizza bites and mac ‘n cheese. 

For more on the online grocery shopping trends of yesteryear, feast your eyes on The 6 top eGrocery trends we’re seeing for 2023.

Butter me up. 

As for restaurant food trends in 2023, this tasty, shareable appetizer would go one of two ways: savoury (with say, nuts and crackers) or sweet (with honey and fruit), and, well, they both got gold stars. We’re happy to say that this popular plank of deliciousness is still making headway, with new combos being shared across socials on the regular. 

Want to see what else was trending last year, including new restaurant ideas for 2023? Head over to our article Top food and restaurant trends of 2023.

What’s being served in 2024…

Grocery store + restaurant = The grocerant. 

In a time where people favour convenience over anything else, picking up food that’s already been prepared can be a total lifesaver. And so came the advent of the ‘grocerant’. This fusion of food retail and foodservice helps save customers time and effort by not only offering ready-made meals but the opportunity to grab lunch and your groceries all in one place. It’s a hybrid concept that’s popping up all over Canada, so we have a feeling it’s going to be one of those future restaurant trends (or shall we say current restaurant trends) we’ll be seeing a lot more of. To learn more about the grocerant and where you can find a few of them across the country, have check out this article (link out to grocerant article). 

Wake me up before you cocoa. 

We all know and love the cocoa bean, as it’s responsible for one of the most glorious foods on the planet — chocolate. This year, the bean stands alone in all kinds of new products. In the spirit of zero-waste cooking, products are popping up that upcycle the bean’s by-products to help reduce waste and craft delectable culinary innovations, like jellies and jams made with the cacao’s pulp. Because this part of the cocoa pod has sweet notes of citrus, mango, pineapple, and lychee, it also makes a great sugar alternative (a plus for grocery store shelves and restaurant menus alike).      

Getting back to our roots.

For the last couple of years, plant-based products were all the rage (may we remind you of these tasty trends from 2022) and it looks like the trend is sticking around in 2024 — except, this year, it’s getting kicked up a couple notches. Instead of being made with mock meats, more and more brands, like Canadian fave Big Mountain, are coming out with real plant-based versions of favourites like burgers and hotdogs made fromactual veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers. 

With a growing number of people experimenting with vegetarianism, these are great eGrocery industry products to keep in stock. And if you have a restaurant, incorporating a few of these on the menu could go a long way with your veggie-loving customers.  

We hope you enjoyed that trip down memory lane (and the little taste of things to come with those upcoming food trends) as much as we did. Until next time, cheers!

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