2021 is a year for brave, bold, and confident entrepreneurs to open new restaurants or renovate their current ones. More and more places are opening up and relaxing their quarantines, lockdowns, and curfews. Consequently, people are increasingly emerging from their government- and self-imposed isolation. Their hunger for a sense of normalcy, comfort, and the familiar are driving them to look for eateries that ooze those vibes. There are some consumer dining trends that may strongly influence people’s restaurant preferences. Major factors are hygiene, sanitation, comfort, safety, healthiness, community-based operations, affordability, and simplicity. People want to make sure that they don’t get sick, their families don’t get sick, and that their diet promotes good health and fitness. Here are the new restaurant ideas for 2021.
The desire for community-based eateries that support local farmers and people in the neighborhood stems from many people’s desire to maintain their wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them. They want their money to support their local, regional, and national communities. Why? Local, regional, and national economies cannot recover if the community’s resources are flowing outside of it.
So, which restaurants are likely to put you in the black in 2021? You have a lot of options. We present the ones that will give you the best chance of attracting customers, turning a profit, and opening your restaurant on a limited or shoestring budget. Start small so that you can retain some capital to carry you until you are established and your register overflows with revenue.
Restaurant ideas for 2021 include food trucks, ghost kitchens, drive-ins, pop-ups, bistros, and open seating restaurants.
Let’s take a look at these trending eateries!
Food trucks are great because they are mobile and allow you to test different markets while refining your menu and recipes. They are well known amongst construction workers, students, and work crews. Now they are one of the hottest ways to introduce ethnic food, specialty food, and comfort food to people in communities that hunger for it. Food trucks provide much-needed mobility for new restaurateurs who may have misread their market and potential customers. They can also drive demand for their food truck’s menu by engaging in social media marketing campaigns. Finally, food trucks can more easily cater community events, small parties, and local celebrations. Plus, they provide budget-friendly rates that still bring in lots of profit.
Ghost kitchens began spreading during 2020 when traditional restaurants had to close for public safety reasons. Enterprising restaurateurs catered to the needs of their customers and community by preparing their food in private, commercial, and rented kitchens. Their customers then collected the prepared food by driving to the ghost kitchen’s location and picking it up. They could also have their food delivered by a service or the ghost kitchen’s drivers.
Ghost kitchens have lower costs than traditional restaurants. They don’t have dining areas, waiting rooms, servers, or any other customer-related services. Since they don’t cater to customers at their location, they don’t need them. Moreover, ghost kitchens may serve a range of foods including ethnic (e.g., soul food), specialty (e.g., plant-based meals), meal plans, and subscription meal services.
Pop-Ups are restaurants that may be open for a day or several days. It is also possible for them to temporarily share space with an established restaurant. Furthermore, currently, there are opportunities for them to be part of an incubator that helps pop-ups to get public exposure. There are even companies that intentionally only operate pop-ups.
For example, one man recognized a market opportunity for his pop-up style restaurants with late-night diners. He realized that the hungry diners had nowhere to go when the bars closed. His solution was to organize pop-ups in different parts of the city every night with different menus. After working full-time at this day job and running pop-ups at night for months, he was well-positioned to quit his day job and run pop-ups full-time.
Pop-Ups generally have small menus and the food is takeaway. However, they may also set up temporary seating for their patrons. Their setup is quick, simple, and flexible. It only requires a preparation area, small cooking area, and sufficient space to store their supplies. Also, they need to be in an area where they can find/attract customers. Overall, they are a way to get market exposure, develop a following, and partner with local restaurant owners. You can work with other pop-up owners and set up your own semi-permanent stalls too.
Bistros are locally owned and operated small eateries that have small constantly changing menus. The menus are based on locally produced foods and tend to be healthy. A bistro’s offerings are generally written on a chalkboard or printed fresh every day. The servers are usually not well-trained, but more than capable of tending to the bistro’s customers.
Bistros are similar to farm-to-table restaurants. They support local farmers, serve seasonal foods, and provide affordable meals. Bistros can also be a place where the local community meets.
Bistros may promote the arts, special interest groups, or try to create resources for people in the community who are in need. They can take on many different forms. For a successful bistro, you must analyze your community and its needs and then create something that fills that void for them.
Restaurant with Open Dining Areas
Restaurants that are set up as drive-ins or with open seating that is detached from the restaurant have become very popular. This style of restaurant allows people to go out and be around people, but also to maintain the recommended social distancing. Customers who go there get to sit outside, get some fresh air, eat comfort food, and keep things casual.
The expense associated with this kind of restaurant varies greatly. The simplest setup is a restaurant with a food preparation area and counters where people can pick up their food. More advanced options include having servers deliver customers’ orders to their cars/tables or an entertainment area (e.g., movie screens, picnic area, children’s playground).
Wrap Up . . .
If you are embarking on a new business venture in 2021 that involves opening a new restaurant or maybe revamping your current one, consider the ones listed above. They have low startup costs, allow you to gauge the market, and enable you to max out your potential if you’re well-capitalized. However, if you are not well-capitalized, ghost kitchens and pop-ups are the least expensive. Look into operating a bistro or food truck if you are committed to making a more sizable, long-term investment into your restaurant in 2021. Don’t forget to invest in restaurant management software which will provide you data and signights since day #1 of your operations. Eagleowl optimizes the food costs for all type of food businesses and recommends the right menu prices to maximize your revenue.