2020 Trends in the Horeca Sector


A few days ago I had the opportunity to offer a talk for AHEOS, in which they asked me for a global view of the trends in Horeca models.

To offer them an ordered content, I organized my talk in relation to the trends that I believe will arise in the short, medium and long term in the gastronomic, operational, business management and concept areas. And above all, and what I consider most important, the why of these new trends in business models.

Today I share with you, in this article, what will serve as a guide to know what to expect from the sector in Horizon 2020.


Our best knowledge about health and the impact of certain agricultural and livestock practices, lead us to an increasingly demanding demand for products. Today, we demand greater traceability and confidence in the food we consume. Beyond diets (from veganism and paleoism, going through thousand cures and a cure detox), modern societies, installed on a fairly privileged step of the Maslow Pyramid, embrace a more holistic style of what health represents for the human body in traditional terms.

We seek a greater understanding of the importance of caring for the planet and its resources, warned by certain catastrophic movements that predict the great famine of 2050, in which we will not have the resources to feed the entire world population, humans have begun to become aware of the need to change the way we do things.

And the food sector is one of the biggest affected by this change in global thinking.

Third, the deterioration of many ecosystems due to the abuse of materials such as plastic, have forced us to rethink a new way of understanding how to manage the life cycle of certain materials.

The circular economy, a strategy that aims to reduce both the entry of materials and the production of virgin waste, closing the “loops” or economic and ecological flows of resources, breaks into all industries as a solution to a problem that it is aggravated by giant steps.

In hospitality, this HOLISTIC HEALTHY CONCEPT, brings us several trends:

Relating to the health and well-being of the individual:

The incorporation of food traceability as a control and guarantee thereof.

A kitchen in which allergens are detected to alleviate their effects in those suffering from a related pathology.

The use of superfoods.

The flexitarianism.

The growing wave of liquid nutrition offer (zumology).

And, in the not too distant future, personalized nutrition thanks to biotechnology.

Relative to the use of resources:

The consumption of products of proximity (KM0 and UltraKM0).

The decrease in consumption of intensive livestock meats by others of extensive livestock.

The incorporation of vegetable protein in the pantry.

Relating to the circular economy:

The new sensitivity to food waste.

The new culture of recycling materials.

The use of all products (from the root to the leaf in the plant world and from the tail to the nose in the animal world).


A more informed, traveled and curious society is the one that visits restaurants today. A society in which 6 generations live as consumers (Seniors, Baby Boomers, G-XX, Millennials, Centennials) and in which the Alpha Generation is already being incorporated.

Social groups that are organized in a different way and for which access to technology, especially in the last generations, has been a great influence on their consumption habits and business relationships.

This new society of cosmopolitan citizens, GLOBAL EXPERIENCIAL CITIZENS, travelers and with a tendency to work nomadism, hyperconnected and hyperinformed, brings several trends to the hotel industry:

Relating to technology:

The consumer experience extends to the digital field (from the search to the digital comment).

The search for visual elements to share in the digital social environment.

Biotechnology as an ally for personalized nutrition.

Regarding access to information:

A greater demand for gastronomic products and experiences from other cultures.

The kitchens of Southeast Asia, Peru and Mexico are the ones that have been incorporated into the day to day of our restaurants.

Relative to consumer habits:

Gastronomy is established as a leisure activity.

Which implies that it must contemplate more factors of satisfaction than the purely organoleptic.

Consumers demand a lighter but more frequent way of eating adapted to a faster pace of life.


In this step of the Maslow Pyramid mentioned above, food, or rather, the experience of food, has gone from being a purely nutritional to be part of leisure, social relations and an aspirational lifestyle in our society.

The shopping centers are evolving towards formats in which the reataurants are taking a new role, being the center of the offer.

As airports / train stations expand the m2 dedicated to gastronomy to entertain an increasingly assiduous traveler to these facilities.

This new dimension of restaurants brings us several trends:

The mono-product or hyper-specialization restaurants in which to live an experience around a concept or food.

The plating as maximum appeal of the recipe.

The incorporation of fashionable, ethnic and culturally exotic ingredients.


The digitalization and technology will allow a professionalization of the business with a focus on profitability.

Well-used Business Intelligence must be the right data manager, updated from the integration of different back office and front office management tools.

The automation of processes in the handling of food, will replace many jobs performed by humans in the kitchen and in the front of the house, such as hot and cold drinks service.


All these trends make new business models in the short and medium term, both for independent and organized restaurants (groups and franchises) such as:

The new restaurants in airports, hotels and shopping centers, in the form of gastronomic concepts and co-brading with prestigious chefs that provide an added value to these spaces.

Independent restaurants based on a very specific offer, unique and whose authenticity, whether in the generation of experience or the treatment of the product, represents the great competitive advantage.

Restaurants based on the use of technology to generate experiences.

Spaces of entertainment with gastronomy as a claim and central attraction as part (urban food courts, cabaret dining …)

The ultra-convenience restaurants with a fast healthy focus and high customer rotation.

Food preparation companies (cook rooms) with final destination delivery, convenience, collectivities or “5 products” for other establishments.

Organized restaurants, as a scalable and highly automated model with processes aimed at more demanding communities with the product, its presentation and its nutritional values ​​adapted to the consumer.

And in these business models, will prevail:

The professionalized management, with digital tools capable of obtaining and analyzing the right data so that the restaurateurs can make decisions.

The differentiation of the business against its direct competitors, which will force the choice of the client.

The strategic interior design that generates experiences appropriate to the customer segment.

The quality and visual impact of all elements, from plating to bathrooms.

The client’s neuronal association with prestigious brands recognized and trusted by the client.

The capacity of online engagement.


This new environment favors the appearance of new needs, new professions for the future of the industry, and represents a new horizon for training. Four key factors:

The R & D will focus on the development of recipes with new foods, the design of process automation and packaging for delivery and grab & go.

In the Kitchen, we will see the specialization in processes and management of culinary technology.

In terms of new professions needed with the Management in the Sector, we will find those of Experienced Designers, Business Intelligence Manager, Online Marketing Manager and Logistic Manager.

In Management, the Business Strategy will be key.

This is my vision of what will happen in all areas of the sector in Horizon 2020. It is time to work for a future that already awaits us.

I invite you to continue the conversation on my Social Networks. Do you have questions that you would like to ask me? You can do it at [email protected] and at #AskBallarin.

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