The Biggest Restaurant Menu Trends in 2023

Looking for inspiration for your new menu? Checking out the latest food trends can be a good place to start. From modern cuisine to classic diner favorites, customer’s appetites are always changing. Keep your menu ideas to create dishes that keep customers coming back for more.

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest food trends coming to a plate near you in 2023.

QR Code Menus

Restaurants around the world are facing tough times in 2023. Staff shortages, food shortages and spiraling costs, to name a few. Overcoming these challenges requires a mix of innovation and adaptation.

Introducing QR code menus is one solution that many restaurants are already using to help ease some strain in these areas.  As well as making restaurants more environmentally sustainable by reducing raw materials for a paper or plastic menu, the QR code menu offers a number of other advantages; from requiring fewer servers, to real-time updates for any last-minute menu swaps if there’s a run on certain ingredients.

Being Flexible Around Menu Changes

QR codes provide flexibility when it comes to changing the menu. Inflation and regular food shortages mean prices can fluctuate, or might be out of stock. Using a hardcopy menu means having to print new menus to accommodate this and can be hard - not to mention time consuming and costly.

QR code menus can be quickly and easily updated and at next-to-no cost, allowing restaurant managers to easily test new pricing and menu ideas, while keeping their menus accurate with inflation and food shortages.

Helping with Staff Shortages

Restaurants all seem to be feeling the pain of staff shortages right now. Luckily, QR code menus can help.

In 2023, it looks likely that more advanced menus will be developed. These menus will allow customers to order directly from their table, add to their order instantly, pay and split the bill and tip.

This kind of frictionless self-service takes some of the pressure off servers in under-staffed environments, and frees them up for other tasks.

It also means customers can continue ordering without calling a server, which creates a more seamless on-demand ordering process that could encourage diners to order more frequently and lead to more sales.

Better Customer Insights

With inflation and the rocketing cost of living, the economic landscape is pretty tough. Restaurants need all the help they can get to customers in the door, and convince them to keep coming back.

Data visibility from digital QR code menus are set to help with this too. Restaurants can use QR codes to record customer preferences, and ask them to provide feedback about their meal in real-time through the menu. They can then introduce personalized customer rewards, specials, and loyalty programs tailored to customer demand.

This data-driven personalization can help restaurants really stand out, and keep their customers coming back for another bite. 

Sustainable Menu Choices

QR code menus are more sustainable than physical menus and use fewer raw materials. But there are other ways to create more environmentally conscious menus.

Some restaurants use digital projectors to showcase their menu onto walls, which means the menus don’t have to be printed, and as with QR code menus, they can easily and affordably be updated. If your customers prefer a physical menu, opting for recycled paper will help make them more sustainable. Alternatively, traditional chalkboard menus are also a less-waste option.

Plant Power: Healthy Options are In Demand

Customers largely choose where to eat based on; flavor, customer experience, and price.

But this is quickly changing, as a push towards healthier foods is on the rise. In 2022 vegan options, and fresh, seasonal food were in demand. In 2023, the trend to watch is food transparency.

What is Food Transparency in Restaurants?

Customers are increasingly conscious about eating healthy foods that are also environmentally friendly. That’s why food transparency is becoming a new buzzword that is informing dietary decisions.

People now generally expect clear and honest information from restaurants to help them make healthy meal selections. Restaurant-goers expect delicious dynamic and innovative menus that also include details about ingredients, sourcing, nutrition, and now the social and environmental impacts of their food.

More ‘Plant-Forward’ Menus

Plant-based options are having a moment that looks set to see a surge of plant-based dishes appearing on menus in 2023.

A ‘plant-forward’ menu is one that puts more emphasis on plant-based foods, without being limited to solely vegan and vegetarian dishes. Plant-forward diets are becoming more popular, and usually involve eating plant-based 70% of the time, while not completely cutting out animal products.

So, if you are designing a new menu for 2023, make sure to get mouths watering with a variety of plant-based recipes. Why not check out some of our own healthy recipes that pack a tasty punch for inspiration.

An Appetite for More Customization

Customers are seeking out healthier foods, but every diner has a different idea about what is healthy for them. There’s a lot of contradictory nutritional information online and of course everybody’s dietary needs are different.

Customization looks set to be a major trend to help restaurants manage individual tastes. In 2023, we can expect more customizable menus, where each customer can create or modify their meals with the ingredients they feel are the healthiest for them.

Taking this trend into account while cooking-up new menu ideas should open the door for all sorts of innovative possibilities.

Whatever menus you do end up creating for 2023, whether they’re QR-ready, plant-forward, or customizable, they’re certain to be delicious.