The Restaurant Trend That Keeps Diners Coming Back

New and continuing trends have been sparking in restaurants and franchises for years thanks to the emergence of food TV and social media platforms which have helped to spark excitement and buzz over whatever is popular at the time. In the past few years we've seen many things rise in popularity, like the increasing excitement over the charcuterie and cheese board, the subsequent candy board trend on Reddit, and the TikTok cereal trends.

Restaurant menus have evolved to elevate the dining experience and now afford more options to those with dietary restrictions like celiac or gluten intolerance, lactose issues, and veganism. Eateries have also been adding QR codes to optimize the ordering process and prevent germ spread as a response to COVID-19. But that's not all: According to Restaurant Dive, analysts predict that other trends will continue to be fostered including the emergence of time-saving tech systems, simplification of menus, increased wage hikes, and more. Despite all these positive changes, there is one trending practice that sticks out as the key reason customers have been returning to restaurants and storefronts alike.

Limited releases draw in customers

In the past few years, you may have noticed a rise in limited-time offerings from some of your favorite restaurants and brands. In early 2022, Oreo announced two flavors on Instagram that could only be bought during a certain window and other products like Pepsi and Kit Kat are following suit. But it is not just store-bought brands hopping on the limited time bandwagon. Companies like Chick-fil-A have also toyed with limited releases, and Starbucks limited edition frappuccinos have been keeping customers on their toes for years.

According to Technomic data researcher Dave Henkes, "The number of limited-time offerings has been on the rise, growing by 31% between 2017 and 2021" (via Smart Brief). The new items brought on by consistent menu changes help break up monotony for customers. It encourages them to come back more regularly, frequently choosing to dine out rather than make dinner at home as a result. This means that as long as restaurants keep innovating and changing things up, customers will keep coming back.