Experts in the food and beverage industry have a few predictions for what will be the key fast-food trends to watch in 2023.
Menu prices are going up, according to Pricelisto.com, and in 2023, they show no signs of leveling off or declining. Price increases are coinciding with high inflation rates, says Peter Saleh, Managing Director and Restaurants Analyst at BTIG, and if inflation pressures are intense, businesses will need to increase costs.
Morningstar Analyst Sean Dunlop adds that these prices will be even higher toward the beginning of the year if a potential recession is indeed around the corner. And Katie Thomas, Lead at the Kearney Consumer Institute, doesn't expect much consumer pushback. Consumers are still harboring a post-pandemic desire to dine out, and a slight increase in costs won't deter them.
Next, digital sales are expected to hit a peak in the new year. Yum! Brands, which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, earned $6 billion in digital sales in 2022. McDonald's also saw $7 billion in digital sales, and more than one third of Chipotle's entire revenue was earned through digital sales.
Saleh adds that companies are looking to embrace digital sales, advertising, and more. Restaurants will also integrate digital features into their designs. McDonald's, Starbucks, and Burger King all began investing in restaurant redesigns in 2022, including mobile pickup spots and delivery driver parking spaces.
Lastly, tipping more than likely will not enter into the fast food game despite companies like Starbucks putting the option in their mobile apps. Yahoo! Finance reports that this option for tips has caused controversy among consumers, but Dunlop notes that Starbucks will probably not roll back the feature. However, Dunlop adds that other chains will not embrace tipping, despite it being the norm at non-fast food restaurants.