In 2019, we started the Hospitality in the News (HitN) blog series to create a space where hospitality professionals could find all the important. news and trends impacting their industry.  

Since then, we’ve launched the Hospitality in the News magazine, a quarterly publication that compiles the most popular articles from the past several months. And after publishing dozens of HitN articles, we’re proud to say that this is the 100th article in the series! This week’s Hospitality in the News topic is surrounding the future of hospitality – what will the industry look like in the next 20 years? But before that, we’re going to look at the five most popular HitN articles over the last two years:  

Top 5 most popular Hospitality in the News articles 
  • Hospitality in the News | COVID-19 – Posted March 10th, 2020, this article tackled the coronavirus when it had only been making headlines for a few weeks. It’s interesting to read and reflect on what we’ve been through the past (almost) two years. 
  • Hospitality in the News | Fast Hiring Process – Creating a great candidate experience is key for recruitment and word-of-mouth hiring. One of the most important aspects of that is a fast and efficient hiring process – we share some tips we’ve learned through years of hiring.  
  • Hospitality in the News | Hotel Employment Flexibility – Flexibility is the name of the game for candidates right now. Because of the pandemic, employees want a better work life balance, and offering a flexible schedule is a good way to achieve that.  
  • Hospitality in the News | No Call No Show – Ah, the dreaded no call no show. Anyone who’s worked in the hospitality industry is familiar with it (the very phrase probably sends shivers down your spine). But why does it happen? And how can it be prevented? 
  • Hospitality in the News | Tipping – Most servers and bartenders (and some other positions) rely on tips to make their money. But in doing so, they must heavily rely on customers to make a living. Would it be better to raise minimum wage as opposed to workers receiving tips?  
What will the hospitality industry look like in 20 years?  

When we ask this question, we’re not talking about trends like “connecting with consumers” or “outdoor dining” (though we anticipate both will be popular). We’re talking about major advancements in restaurant-related technology, food and beverage offerings, delivery options, and the like. We’ll be basing some of these predictions off what experts believe in addition to our own thoughts on the future of the industry. So what will the hospitality industry look like in twenty years? We may see things like:  

Advancements in the food delivery process

We won’t have to wait twenty years for the next wave of delivery options because companies like Starship and Nuro are testing drone delivery services (for big name brands like Domino’s Pizza). Though restaurant technology was likely heading this direction anyway, the pandemic sped up interest in more contactless options and the need for more delivery “drivers”. It will be a few years before a robot is knocking on your door to deliver your tacos, but we likely won’t have to wait two decades before a drone drops off your pizza.  

…Not to mention what can be delivered

Another change encouraged by the pandemic is what restaurants are including on their delivery menus. Rather than just offering restaurant-prepared meals, some businesses began offering more alcohol options, at home “kits” for creating your own pizzas, and even “homemade” gingerbread houses during the holidays. Major delivery platforms like DoorDash have also followed suit, now delivering items from businesses that aren’t even restaurant related, like PetSmart.  

Over the next two decades, what can we expect from delivery menus? Food from their kitchens to serve as grocery items for consumers? Cooks from the restaurants coming to your house to prepare the food? It’s hard to say but we’re looking forward to finding out.   

AI as an attraction

There’s a lot of speculation over whether some form of AI will take the place of hospitality employees. Can we expect robots to be taking our food orders and flipping our burgers? Possibly. But most experts agree that the cost and complexity of the tech makes that idea unrealistic. Plus, consumers are still longing for the personal connection they receive when dining in at a restaurant.  

But what about AI as an attraction instead of a way to streamline operations? Picture this: a robot bartender than can pour beers and pre-batched cocktails and make conversation with guests. Sounds like a great way to engage tourists and locals! Or a visible assembly line at a fast-food restaurant where you can watch “robots” put your entire meal together. The possibilities are endless.  

Robot bartenders may be a few years away, but on the horizon are smaller updates to restaurant tech, like smarter point of sale systems, advanced QR codes, and more contactless payment options. 

Great food programs combined with entertainment for longer stays

The average diner is only spending around 90 minutes at a restaurant when dining out. As the hospitality industry continues to recover from COVID-19, we believe we’ll see bars and restaurants turning their venues into more of an experience or form of entertainment rather than a place to grab a drink or a bite. Think bowling alleys with bar and grill but bigger and (possibly) more lavish. Michelin star food programs at Broadway shows? Maybe! Craft cocktail programs accompanied with TV’s or board games? Perhaps! THC lounges with interactive pop-up bars? Probably. Whatever can keep butts in seats longer and spending more money.  

Some think the future of the restaurant industry will be heavily influenced in technology. Based off our research it will be, but not in the way we think. Because drones and robots can’t fully replace human touch, most employees can count on their jobs withstanding the test of time. Guest experience and revenue building will continue to be of great importance for operators, and leveraging the technology of the future is how they’ll achieve their goals. We can’t wait to find out what’s in store for the future of the industry and you know we’ll be ready to report on it in the Hospitality in the News series. 


You can find the collection of Hospitality in the News articles here, and the related magazine here.