A food trend is defined as a widespread change in food preference and although the impact they have and the time scale it lasts varies, they mustn’t be confused with a ‘fad’ which is a short-term or localized change that doesn’t make a significant impact after the initial period of interest has subsided.
Knowing what trends are coming in will help you determine where you want to take your restaurant in the upcoming year, and what changes you need to make to continue pleasing your customers.
It’s important that your establishment retains its core identity and values and embracing trends doesn’t mean that you abandon these. However, it is valuable for your business to look at the climate of the industry and the changes that are impacting it – both those that are being made by the consumers and those that will directly affect your customers.
Trends can tell you a lot about your customer; what they expect from you, the direction your venue needs to be taking in the year ahead, and the ways in which you can remain relevant and positively visible to your customers.
In this post, we will have a look at some of the trends that are predicted to change the restaurant market in 2019.Fine dining take-out
"The total spending in the takeaway industry is expected to
grow to £11.2 billion by 2021 in the UK alone."
- Just Eat
People enjoy having a variety of meals to choose from, they want to have a wide variety of choice when it comes to cuisine – and there has been a move away from the ‘traditional’ takeaway dishes to a more inclusive menu that now covers items that would once be available in-house only.
By offering a broader range of delivery meals, restaurants are allowing their customers to sample more of the dishes they offer which can then directly influence their opinions on dining-out choices.
Fine Dining is no longer seen as something that is completely specialized and only available at certain locations. Customers are looking for more elaborate dishes or exotic ingredients and are expecting restaurants who create these dishes to provide them with an at-home option.
The opinion of the dietician
With this drive towards more focus on personal health, Professional Dieticians are emerging alongside Celebrity Chefs as sources of trusted information. Consumers want to know the nutritional benefits of their chosen foods, and Dieticians offer a trained, reputable source of information.
Personally, assigned nutrition is a growing trend that will have a major impact on diet – and Dieticians and Nutritionists will be largely involved in showing customers the correct information and informing their purchasing decisions as they direct them to the types of food that meet their health needs.
Mobile devices give access to the internet in a huge number of places, and dedicated apps are available for customers to conduct their own onsite research into ingredients. Restaurants can appeal to this trend by clearly indicating what ingredients they are using and offering accurate information as to their health benefits.
Food as medicine
Health conscious dining is a growing area of public concern, and it goes beyond low-fat or low-sugar. Diners are looking more inclusively at dishes and evaluating the health benefits offered by individual ingredients as well as the meal as a whole.
There is an increased awareness of how food can be used to maintain health, prevent disease and improve bodily functions. This shift in awareness is seeing diners wanting more easily accessible information, whether it’s on the menu, website or through an ordering app – they want to know how they can benefit nutritionally before they order.
"70% of diners say they are more likely to choose a
restaurant that offers healthy menu options."
- National Restaurant Association
Consideration is being given to the healthy qualities of food as well as the taste and appearance as customers want to benefit personally and physically from their dining experiences.
Ingredients such as chia and flax seeds, matcha, turmeric, and apple cider vinegar are now being applied to recipes and marketed on their health benefits rather than just taste alone.
Humble simple food
Customers are moving towards a return to simple dishes and a focus on flavor and substance – not every dining experience has to be lavishly styled and over-done to make it an experience worth remembering.
Simple dining is also combining with the trend towards sustainable ingredients – with customers looking to see how restaurants are utilizing irregular ingredients (such as bent cucumbers) and making use of leftovers.
2018 saw a trend towards nostalgic home cooking dishes, and this has led into the continued desire for simple, humble dishes that boast a well-crafted flavor profile and familiar taste.
Perhaps influenced by a return to nostalgic cooking, there has been a renewed interest in Artisan foods and the traditional tastes or techniques they deliver.
This produce can offer a more local or stylised taste and allows diners to explore a different dish to one that is produced with main-stream mass-produced ingredients. It allows for exploration and a sense of freshness whilst remaining familiar.
Restaurants and takeaways who source their products locally or make use of Artisan goods should capitalize on this upcoming trend by making sure they advertise the fact.
Mainstream vegetarianism and veganism
Although not a new trend, the popularity of Vegetarianism and Veganism will continue to grow throughout 2019.
These dietary paths are no longer considered to be the minority, and customers expect to have a well-rounded menu that caters to these needs. This will heavily influence how restaurants and individual chefs approach the creation of their menus.
These are only some of the exciting trends that we can expect to see impacting the restaurant industry in 2019.
Understanding your customer and what they want from you in the year to come will help you craft innovative new menus, develop popular experiences and generate a more focused marketing plan that sees your restaurant grow in popularity and reputation.
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Lynne Pratt is the Creative Content Director for Virtual Solutions, a boutique agency specialising in offering digital solutions and exceptional experiences for the Restaurant, Hotel and F&B Industries. Find out more by visiting www.virtual-solutions.co.uk
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