The first quarter has come to an end, and we have a clearer idea of what the remainder of the year will look like. Before that happens, we need to look back and examine the trends that are shaping 2022.


Supply Chain

The supply chain is still in a state of flux and the trend looks to continue for the rest of the year. There are still issues with sourcing and manufacturing, yet there are fewer empty spaces on store shelves. Restaurants have been able to find alternative suppliers and retailers have been able to keep up with demand. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused havoc on sectors of the supply chain, and we could feel more of those effects in the U.S. as the conflict continues. Although this could open the market to more domestically sourced products.



The buzz around the Metaverse has caught fire during Q1, yet it’s future still looks incomplete. There is not a clear picture of how it will be implemented for each company and how consumers will be able to use it. However, the questions over how the Metaverse will work has not stopped retailers and restaurants from pushing forward with plans. The most recent example of this is Wendy’s and their virtual reality town square that allows users to explore a 3-D modeled Wendy’s restaurant. The company admits that the Metaverse will not be anything like what they are currently offering, although they want to get consumers interested in the idea.



The explosion of interest around NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens which are similar to cryptocurrencies) has carried into 2022. Multiple brands have developed their own NFTs and developed marketing programs surrounding them. Large companies like Walmart and Nike have jumped into NFT development for their products. At the end of the first quarter, we don’t know all the ways the in which they will be used, yet they are coming. Cryptocurrency has also become more widely accepted with restaurants like Shake Shack giving away Bitcoin through participating purchases. Other retailers have allowed cryptocurrency to be used for payment and it is expected more will follow suit.



Delivery has continued to be a primary resource for consumers to get their products. Restaurants are continuing to develop off-premise only locations in addition to traditional units. The number of ghost kitchens has increased since the beginning of the year and more restaurants are developing their own delivery systems instead of relying on third-party services. Retailer and grocery deliveries have been slowed by ongoing supply chain issues, yet the largest brands are still pushing towards more consistent same-day delivery.


Environmental Impact/Sustainability

Companies are still looking to improve their sustainability through sourcing and packaging. Public corporations have reaffirmed their goals in their earnings calls, yet progress has slowed. Businesses are still recovering from the past few years, and it will take time to meet their sustainability initiatives.


Loyalty Apps and Memberships

Memberships have been a primary driver of consumer retention during the first quarter of the year. Companies have continued to offer exclusive deals and items through memberships only. Chains have revamped and released new loyalty programs in order to entice shoppers to enter and interact with their ecosystems. This trend will spread to more retailers later this year due to its success.


Data Privacy

There have not been many major moves to address data privacy through the first quarter; however, it continues to be a major concern for consumers. Companies will need to address this issue going forward if they hope to continue to develop their digital futures. This is good news for tech service providers as there will be a growing need for infrastructure across this sector.


The Future of Purchasing

Efficiency and convenience continue to be key factors in the future of purchasing. Companies are currently competing to erase the checkout line from traditional purchases. Walmart recently sued BJ’s Wholesale Club for copying the mobile checkout platform developed for Sam’s Club. This space is becoming more competitive, and we will see more types of these mobile solutions as the year progresses.



Companies have used the first quarter of 2022 to help codify their online and physical platforms. Consumer expectations have continued to rise and anything less than a unified front for ordering and customer service is unacceptable. As omnichannel solutions improve we can expect a smoother user experience and greater adoption of the technology.



Most plans for large scale automation and A.I. driven systems have not come to complete fruition yet. The technologies are continuing to develop and there is clearly still an appetite for what automation can bring to various industries. Restaurants like Chipotle are testing automation for certain parts of their kitchen. These changes could increase production and help offset rising labor costs and inflation.

2022 brings multiple opportunities for retailers, restaurants, and suppliers alike. As we continue through the year, Chain Store Guide will be your resource to bridge the gap and connect manufacturers and service providers to the chains that need them.