By: Bridget Halpain | Category Manager and Mary Bentley | Buyer

Technology Trends Borne of COVID Pandemic Expected to Help Grow Foodservice Industry

As customers return to work in offices, most in the industry expect employees must adjust to being away from the convenience of cooking at home. As their day gets busier with the commute and catching up for the lost year, more will turn to quick solutions for dining. Foodservice stands to grow tremendously offering quick solutions for ready-to-bake meals or freshly prepared food. Here are the trends c-store owners hope to capitalize on in the latter half of 2021:

  • Grab and Go – kiosks offering store-packaged hot meals, freshly prepared salads, ready-to-cook dinner entrees, sandwiches, and other freshly prepared food
  • Contactless Delivery and Curbside Pickup – Third-party apps such as Grubhub or Skip picking up from c-stores and delivering to the customer, retailer apps offering online ordering ahead, and parking in designated spots to receive their order
  • Contactless Checkout – retailer apps for customers to use smartphones to scan and pay for purchases without touching cards or money
  • International Flavors – customers demonstrate a need for tasty options like burritos, ready-to-bake enchiladas, or breakfast tacos. Ready-to-bake Asian meals like broccoli beef or Kung Pao Chicken. Asian-inspired salads with ginger/sesame dressings or traditional Asian vegetables such as bean sprouts
  • Comfort Foods – fried chicken, pizza, chicken sandwiches and burgers, cheese sticks, taquitos, chicken wings, and French fries were all staples of the quarantine environment that continue to be popular today
  • Plant-Based Offerings – Made to order salads, gluten-free wraps, meatless burgers, and healthy fresh options from deli sections account for a growing portion of the foodservice market post-COVID