The colorful world of foodservice is trending now.
In order to stay on top of the market, you need to know what’s hot before it hits the tables. You need to implement it like a boss and serve it up with a bit of flair.
It’s important to take notes from successful restauranteurs that have gone before you. It’s also important to be your own innovator, constantly coming up with new ideas and creative twists on tried-and-true methods.
Trends in foodservice change with each shift in our social consciousness. 2018 will be a year of monumental change and stiff competition, with more and more credit being given to responsible restaurants and those who know how to WOW.
1. Environmentally and Socially Conscious Restaurants
The last decade has propelled us into a world controlled and dictated by the demands of the consumer base.
That’s all well and good, but what exactly does the consumer base want? In 2017, Technomic reported that “food beyond fuel” to be one of the top 5 trends in foodservice — and that hasn’t changed.
If anything, consumers have become even more fanatic about environmentally conscious victuals. You can see this with the dramatic rise in the popularity of the eco-menu. Restaurants like the Grey Plume in Omaha are winning prizes for being so eco-friendly, cementing them in their localities as successful and well-liked businesses.
And people love it. Consumers want to be socially conscious, environmentally friendly and give back to their communities. In order to stay competitive in the market, restaurants need to get on board with this.
Our attention is being drawn to environmental issues like plastics in the ocean and landfill issues. Concepts like zero-waste dining appeal to our sense of responsibility for the environment.
Now is an important time to find your niche as a restaurant and get on board with these trends. Consumers have spoken, and it’s up to restaurants to meet that demand.
2. Dining Experiences Beyond the Food
In order to satisfy the increased customer demand for all new experiences, restaurants are having to come up with increasingly bizarre (but awesome) ways to entertain.
Gone are the days when a customer wanting something different could pick up Chinese food instead of burgers. Now that Chinese food needs to be served in complete darkness by chefs who cook with blindfolds on to strengthen their filet-knife wielding skills.
Okay, that may be going too far. But customers these days need a true experience. And restaurants who serve food in the dark, like Dans le Noir, are rising in popularity. That’s because eating in pitch darkness gives rise to the senses of taste and smell, making the dining experience more intense.
And we need intense. Dinner in the Sky is a Belgium-based company which offers diners a chance to eat their meal (quite a luxurious one, at that) while suspended hundreds of feet in the air in the sky. Dinner in the Sky is a mobile company and uses a crane to hoist diners above whichever city they happen to be operating out of.
It is. But it’s also successful, and that’s because we’re simply no longer satisfied with the mundane. Diners want interactive murder mystery dinner theater. They want to eat inside a giant aquarium.
If you can satisfy this craving even a little bit by giving them something the competition can’t, you’ve got a leg up.
3. Generating an Interest in the Process with Open Kitchens
People are becoming more and more interested in how their food is made. It’s normal for waiters to disappear behind swinging doors to the back of the house and report an order to faceless chefs. The customer waits, the food is brought. It’s normal.
But it’s boring.
It’s exciting to watch your waiter interact with the chef, to see your food being chopped and diced, sautéed and pureed in front of your eyes. That’s what people want.
CBC News reports that better food comes out of open kitchens. That’s because it alters the Chef’s perception of customers, generating more respect as well as better food hygiene habits.
People love to see their food being made. It brings an honesty to the process, a transparency you just don’t get with closed kitchens. It creates a community atmosphere, which is important in bringing customers back time and time again.
By opening up the kitchen, you’re effectively opening up the metaphorical doors of experience to your customers and inviting them in. Everybody wins.