2024 Food Service Industry Trends You Should Know

• • • • • • • • • •

The food service industry is constantly adapting to the changing tastes and preferences of consumers. After a challenging few years, the industry has displayed remarkable resilience and adaptability. In 2023, food service regained a significant share of the consumer’s food dollar, surpassing retail. However, as we look ahead to 2024, new challenges loom, including high prices and uncertain consumer confidence. To thrive in this landscape, food service stakeholders must continue to innovate and prepare for events or potential hurdles. This article explores key trends expected to shape the food service industry in 2024.

Social Media Guides the Trends

Southern Ice Cream 2024 Trends Social Media

Social media has become a powerful influencer in the food service industry. Many consumers use platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook to discover new foods and dining experiences. To capitalize on this trend, businesses must leverage social media effectively. Share enticing photos and video reels of your dishes, use popular trends and hashtags to promote your brand, and consider running social media ads to expand your customer base. Embrace the power of social media to stay relevant and attract a larger audience in 2024.

Seasonal Beverages

Southern Ice Cream Seasonal Menu Options

Offering seasonal beverages can be a winning strategy to entice customers. Whether introducing a new beverage each season or creating an annual special, seasonal drinks can generate excitement and bring customers back to your establishment. The anticipation of trying something new or returning for a favorite seasonal treat can boost your sales and create a buzz around your offerings.

Keep it Regional

Southern Ice Cream 2024 Trends Regional Favs

One way to stand out is to celebrate the flavors and dishes unique to your region. For example, Texas food service operators can tap into the local favorites like barbecue, breakfast tacos, and Tex Mex cuisine. Highlighting regional specialties can create a strong sense of identity and resonate with local customers, fostering loyalty and pride in your brand.

Bring Them in With Limited Time Offerings

Southern Ice Cream 2024 Trends Limited Time Offers

Limited-time offerings are a powerful tool to boost sales during slower months and provide a platform for experimentation. Promote innovative ideas and seasonal specials temporarily. If a limited-time offering proves popular, consider making it a permanent addition to your menu. This approach not only keeps your menu fresh but also keeps customers excited about what’s next.

Make the Old New Again

Southern Ice Cream cart server for events

Nostalgia is a powerful marketing tool. Revive retro dishes with a modern twist and present them as fresh and exciting options for 2024. Elevated nostalgia, fueled by a sentimental longing for the past, can create a solid emotional connection with your customers, drawing them in with a sense of familiarity and novelty.

Snackable Items

Southern Ice Cream 2024 Trends Snackable Items

Consumers have increasingly embraced snacking throughout the day in response to the pandemic. Offering snacks and shareable items, such as mini or bite-sized sweets and ice cream treats, can cater to this trend. Customers are more likely to indulge in a quick treat or share snacks with friends and family. These smaller offerings fulfill cravings and boost sales, especially when customers opt for larger quantities.

A Return to Brunch

Southern Ice Cream 2024 Trends Brunch

Brunch has become a beloved weekend tradition for many consumers. It offers a cost-effective way to dine out, enjoy specialty brunch cocktails and mocktails, and socialize with friends and family. Consider expanding your brunch offerings to cater to this trend and provide a memorable weekend dining experience.

Bring on the Tech

Southern Ice Cream 2024 Trends Automation

Investing in technology is essential for streamlining operations and enhancing customer satisfaction. Online ordering systems, integrated supply management, and marketing software can help food service leaders with ordering, staffing, and overall efficiency. Online ordering systems, in particular, can facilitate takeout and advance ordering for drive-thru services, making the customer experience smoother and more convenient.

Ice Cream Trucks are Teaming Up

Southern Ice Cream 2024 Trends Pop Ups and Pairing Up

Ice cream trucks partner with local breweries, wineries, and distilleries to host pop-up events, provide customers with various food and drink options in one location, foster a sense of community, and expose businesses to new audiences. They also collaborate with local restaurants and cafes to create co-branded menu items. This collaboration leverages existing customer bases and attracts new customers through shared promotions and marketing efforts.

Start 2024 Strong with Southern Ice Cream

The food service industry constantly evolves, and staying ahead of the competition requires adaptability and creativity. As we head into 2024, embracing these trends is crucial to remain beloved by your customer base. At Southern Ice Cream Texas, we’re here to help you prepare for 2024 and beyond.

We specialize in ice cream distribution in Southeast Texas, serving ice cream trucks, restaurants, hospitals, stadiums, schools, and more since 1978. As a Texas-based, women-owned family business, we are committed to supporting our community and providing the tools and trends you need to thrive in the ever-changing food service industry. No matter what your branch of the food service industry is, let’s discuss your needs today and ensure your success in the year ahead!