Consumers are spending more money eating out this year with the largest growth coming in the hotels sector and cafés, according to a survey by Bord Bia which forecasts that spending in 2018 will hit €8.2bn this year.
Bord Bia said city centres had reached "saturation point" for cafés and quick- serve restaurants and that a tight labour market had led to staff shortages.
"While we expect to see continued positive activity in the next three years, going forward overall growth figures are likely to be lower than previous years," said Bord Bia chief executive Tara McCarthy.
The survey includes food consumed and prepared out of home in restaurants, pubs, hotels, coffee shops as well as workplace catering, hospitals, education and vending.
The industry is becoming increasingly split - while consumers are willing to spend for a unique dining experience, there is also a search for convenience.
The biggest challenge for the market is delivery services facilitated by smartphone apps. Delivery-only kitchens are starting to appear in other countries and will likely be an area of focus for delivery companies in Ireland, Bord Bia predicted.
"The growing on-demand food service culture is driving the popularity of cashless, click-and-collect and third-party delivery options," the report said.
"As more tech-enabled solutions enter the market, much of the 'front of house' experience between consumers and the operator could ultimately become automated."
Ireland is not immune to global changes, with vegetarianism and vegan dining on the rise, mirroring changes happening in Britain, where a recent study said that one in eight Britons were now vegetarian or vegan.
So too is concern for the environmental impact of packaging, which was highlighted in the most recent series of "Blue Planet II".
Non-meat diets are no longer fringe and while the percentage of consumers that are vegan or vegetarian remains small, consumers are increasing looking for options.
Bord Bia is holding a foodservice seminar today at the RDS where 300 delegates are expected to attend.