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Stay Ahead with the Top Restaurant Trends of 2023

Cover Image for Chefs cooking on the line at Vernick
By Morgan Carter

In 2022, the restaurant industry tackled a host of obstacles due to the lasting effects from the pandemic. Supply chain issues, labor costs, and staffing shortages continued to challenge restaurant and winery owners, operators, and workers as a whole. In 2023, we expect to see similar challenges, but new ways of proving resiliency, from diversifying revenue streams to diving into technology as an integral part of business. Looking ahead, here are our restaurant industry predictions for 2023.

1. Expanding on Business Models
Industry folks are crafting new experiences to test the limits of their restaurants and businesses, expand their customer reach, and generate additional revenue opportunities. Testing these experiences doesn’t have to equate to pricey overhead costs. Instead, restaurants can leverage their resources, and even their communities, to create entirely new offerings and reach new audiences. Westward Whiskey in Portland showcases its spirits and talented bar team with a range of cocktail classes, from “cocktails 101” to “hand-crafting bitters.” Rye Plaza in Kansas City hosts a hands-on cinnamon roll baking class with pastry chef Keara Masson. Many restaurants also play host to pop-ups and kitchen takeovers, which offers not only a vehicle to collaborate with other chefs, but an opportunity to gain new audiences. Wineries also get in on the fun, collaborating with chefs to host seasonal wine dinners. By tapping their resources, these special events can engage new clientele and drive incremental revenue while keeping costs low. Tock’s all-in-one reservation platform allows restaurants to manage it all, from classic reservations to new offerings.

2. Filling the Need for Immersive Dining Experiences
Diners are eager, more than ever, to get out there and explore the culinary scene. According to the National Restaurant Association, 70% of customers are looking for “in-restaurant experiences—socialization, celebration, and culinary exploration.” To accomplish this, restaurant owners can build upon what guests already love, from providing hands-on cooking classes and upgrading experiences with exclusive tours and merchandise to creating intimate spaces, like chef counters. Tock restaurants and wineries are already engaging diners in new ways all across the world, including Michelin-starred chef tables in Rio de Janeiro and London to desert dinners and tours in Jordan’s Wadi Rum Desert. But for an adventure stateside, Tock features thousands of dining experiences, from molecular dining in Kemah, TX, to edible cocktails in Los Angeles. Wineries are creating their own experiences, too. Take Pope Valley Winery, who transformed their three-story burgundy wine cellar into Santa’s workshop for the holidays. The pop-up featured local vendors and goods, wreath decorating, and sweet treats, with the main feature being their wines.

3. Data and Digital Marketing Will Reign Supreme
Back in the day, turning on your open sign was enough to welcome guests to your restaurant. Today, restaurants are leaning on digital and data-based marketing to keep their business top of mind. Thanks to the introduction of technology in restaurants, i.e. reservation platforms and POS systems, restaurant owners now have access to a host of guest information, behaviors, and demographics. But now the question is, what to do with it? Restaurants need to utilize this data to learn their audiences, personalize experiences, and better market to incoming and current clientele. With one simple click, Tock users can filter and download a list of contacts, giving restaurants the data they need to market to their guests as a whole.

4. Technology Usage Will Be at an All-Time High
A comprehensive technology platform is no longer a nice to have, it is a critical part of doing business. The usage of technology platforms or “whole products” are increasingly attractive as restaurants and businesses are looking to consolidate tools, streamline operations, and have access to guest data to better understand, engage, and market to their clientele. Tock’s all-in-one reservation platform offers free and prepaid reservations, event ticketing and management, POS integration, and an easy way to upsell merchandise. Ultimately, these platforms help get restaurant and business owners back to what they do best.

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