In 2023, Diners Want To Catch Up On Whimsical Experiences

As 2022 draws to a close, it's only natural to speculate on what 2023 will be like. What sort of new trends and fashions will appear? What kind of new scandals and controversies will flood the media airwaves this year? And of course, what will the average consumer want or be looking forward to in 2023? When it comes to dining out, it seems that several companies have already placed their bets on what the average customer will want in 2023, and it looks like it centers on one theme: They want their meals to be more "whimsical."

Whimsical? Is that just another buzzword thrown around by businesses, like "authentic," or "thoughtfully crafted?" ADM, the organization that published the report in late November 2022, clarified this in a press release (via Business Wire): "While seeking out new and interesting flavor profiles, eaters also want to engage with fun and playful brands as part of the experience." But what exactly would be driving customers to experience more "whimsical" eating experiences in 2023? 

Customers would be eager to go back to restaurants

You don't need us to stand here and tell you that 2021 and 2022 were rough years for the restaurant industry, what thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Now, as 2023 rolls around, it seems that consumers and diners alike are ready to visit restaurants again in order to make up for the time they lost. As Yelp's prediction for the 2023 year notes, search results for "underwater restaurants" were up 263%, while search results for "dinner theaters" went up by 109%. It seems diners want to get back in the culinary world and skip the take-out and drive-thru for something they haven't been able to do, either by choice or mandate, for a long time.

Perhaps another reason for ADM's "whimsical" prediction is the idea that diners want to "escape." Mintel tells us that "in the not-too-distant future, space will become less whimsical and more tangible," and that food and drink will be designed around space-inspired technologies and innovations. The reason for this is that people — more notably and specifically, members of Gen Z — view outer space as "unsullied," compared to a chaotic and strife-ridden Earth. In that sense, space is appealing as the "next horizon," the unexplored frontier where people can center their hopes and aspirations.

While we can't be too sure what the year 2023 will look like, or whether we will soon be eating in some pretty bizarre restaurants – but it will certainly be something brand new for a brand new year.