This latest installment of CBRE’s Food in Demand series examines expected changes that will impact fundamental operations and real estate strategies of the U.S. restaurant industry.


Explore our 8 predictions and their related real estate impact:

  • Restaurant sales growth will continue to outpace total retail sales growth, but retail investors must be careful not to load up on too many competing operators.
  • Restaurants will continue refining solutions to delivery challenges, including determining best and safest use of data—a critical component of partnerships between restaurant operators and third-party service providers.
  • Delivery-only restaurants, known as virtual restaurants or ghost kitchens, will become a primary growth vehicle of meal-delivery platforms.
  • Restaurant operators will invest more in consumer-facing and back-of-house technology to help control rising costs through automation and to improve customer experience.
  • Lower barriers to entry will facilitate rapid growth in fast-casual dining among traditional concepts as well as regional and specialty startups.
  • Fast food will continue evolving to provide healthy food options, technological conveniences and modern designs.
  • “Eatertainment” operators will embrace smaller, tech-driven formats to crack urban markets, sometimes serving as catalysts for revitalization.
  • Diverse food halls will expand further into suburban markets but must be executed and operated correctly to be successful.