2020 Foodservice Trends for Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.


The consumer’s taste for new fast food selections and unique dine-in experiences will continue to expand in 2020. To keep in step with 2020 foodservice trends for Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. – culinary operations need to embrace new directions including new food trends, faster service, and fresh, locally-grown foods.

You can expect to see everything from plant-based offerings to agricultural sustainability to the battle for social media dominance continue to surge and a growing recognition that restaurants and fast-food services play a vital role in the economic growth of Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. communities.

Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. 2020 Trends in Foodservice

Up Your Delivery Game

Our society is fast-paced, and consumers want their food delivered at the click of a button – fast, fresh, and hot! If you’re not delivering food using your own drivers or a third-party delivery service like GrubHub or Uber Eats, then you’ll be missing out on a major demographic with money to spend, but no time to dine-in or pick-up.

If you are a consumer-focused foodservice provider, then delivery should be a natural extension of your business in 2020.

Eco-Friendly is an Asset

The public is keenly aware of environmental problems and negative climate predictions, so anything your foodservice business can do to promote an eco-friendly operation will be a major asset. Start with a menu that features locally-grown produce and non-food items that are purchased within your geographical region. Foodservice trends in 2020 will also see an increase in a sustainable mindset such as reusable cup programs, strawless lids, compostable packaging, and portion-controlled servings.

A challenge for foodservice businesses is the cost of the sustainable supply chain products and how much the consumer is willing to pay for it.

Smart Cooking Equipment will Rule

Running an efficient kitchen will be key to staying competitive. With the help of commercial kitchen equipment that is driven by smart technology, has a small footprint, and is easy to understand and operate will differentiate the foodservice trendsetters from the rest. Some kitchen equipment is WiFi-connected and Bluetooth-enabled, making it easier for restaurant owners and managers to evaluate energy consumption, water usage, cooking times, and equipment status all from a smartphone or tablet.

High-tech cooking technology is a part of many brands now, with pressure frying, sous vide, and total oil management systems taking center stage.

Foodservice and Social Media Dominance

Everyone seems to be on social media searching for the best fast-food offerings (consider Popeye’s Fried Chicken Sandwich explosion that started a turf war with Chick-fil-a), the newest food truck offering, or that hidden gem of a restaurant that uses a little known spice that packs a powerful flavor punch. Today, any of these success stories would not be possible, if it were not for a social media following that broadcast reviews to skyrocket the company’s visibility.

While you don’t have to dominate on social media, you should have a presence. This may include:

  1. Instagram photos of signature dishes
  2. Tweet and re-Tweet community functions
  3. Facebook post everything – new dishes, new ideas, new services
  4. YouTube video of your chef and wait staff in action

Vegan is not just for Vegetarians

With the popularity of fast-food, plant-based burgers, 2020 will be the year to increase your vegan menu choices. The reason why vegan foods have crossed over is less about the reluctance to eat meat, and more about the incredible taste and power-packed nutrition. So, before you launch a new plant-based menu, make sure the taste will satisfy all consumers and not just vegans. Tofu is an example of a food that never gained popularity with the general public – but tasty veggie burgers, sweet potato fries, and chickpea and other plant-based kinds of pasta have broken barriers.

With increasing concern around the climate, consumers realize the toll that cattle and meat processing takes on the environment – in 2020, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. are the perfect regions to continue the promotion of plant-based diets and sustainable farming methods.

Visit us in the Alto-Hartley showroom as you look for new ways to help implement some of these trends. Be sure to download our coupon to get 10 percent off your showroom purchase.