The lockdowns and isolation of 2020 saw the emergence of several new dining trends across bars and restaurants. From the soaring number of businesses offering delivery and take-away, to menu changes and enhanced cleaning, these new trends helped businesses stay afloat through the uncertainly of COVID-19.

Even as life returns to the “new normal” with businesses now opening up again to almost-full capacity, some of the trends we saw emerge in 2020 are here to stay. Here’s a look at what we can expect to continue to see in 2021 and into the future:

Checking In

Regardless of where you go, checking in has become something we must automatically do for our protection and safety. Through 2021, and for as long as COVID-19 exists in the community, you can expect this to continue. It’s not only safer for restaurants, helping them to avoid shutdowns if someone in the area tests positive; it’s also Government Regulation. If you’d like to make this process easier, you can check our tips to simplify guest registration for your venue here.


If you’d said 12 months ago that McDonald’s drive-through would be selling milk and bread, people would have said you were crazy. Today though, it’s commonplace in Australia and let’s face it, for many families it helped them get through lockdown without having to brave the shops. Other restaurants and bars have changed their regular offerings to include things like coffee, salads and sandwiches, and even flowers. It’s all about convenience.

Digital Ordering Systems

Venues across Australia had to go digital in 2020 in order to minimise contact for staff and customers. Many have set up digital ordering systems that can be accessed via QR Codes, making it easier and more convenient than ever to order food and drinks. Simply go to your favourite venue, scan the code, access the menu, order and pay, and your meal and drinks are brought directly to your table. No more lining up in queues to order or pay.

Set Menus

This is a trend that’s become particularly common with small businesses. Cafes that previously had large range menus have cut their menus short, not only due to lack of customers, but also as a result of dwindled finances. When COVID-19 hit, food wastage created big problems in the food and beverage industry.

As they began to open again, they realised the large menu offerings they once had weren’t going to be suitable for smaller customer numbers (thanks to social distancing). Fixed offerings became more commonplace, saving money and maximising the productivity of cooks.

Local Produce

While we’re on the topic of food menus, 2020 saw more local produce being used – for two reasons. First, because local business owners wanted to support other local business owners, and as such, they started shopping close by. Second, state and international borders shut, making it a lot harder and more time consuming to order food from elsewhere. The delays for produce to arrive saw businesses lose income. Buying locally made more sense and continues to be so.

Along with these, we can expect to continue to see more and more plant-based foods hitting the menus as people re-evaluate their health. There is increased demand for unique flavours from native herbs and spices; and of course, increased hygiene throughout venues as businesses continue to follow COVID-19 protocol.

Final thought

If there’s one thing business owners learned over the past year, it’s that they need to be flexible. So really, anything could happen! If you are looking for ways to adapt and to capitalise on new trends in the industry, just reach out to your H&L account manager to discuss, or contact us here.


H&L POS – working with you to help you grow your business 

H&L POS has been delivering POS solutions with extensive back of house and staff management systems to the hospitality industry for more than 30 years. As hospitality people at heart, H&L understand the critical requirements for each food and beverage operation. We have staff in every state of Australia providing direction and advice as you grow and as technology changes.

Call us at 1800 778 340, email or fill in the form here to discuss your venue’s needs.