According to the Baum+Whiteman’s 2015 Food & Beverage Forecast, there are a number of main trends to look out for as the year progresses for the restaurant industry. These include the effect of technology on restaurants; the manipulation of the basic flavours of food and drink; and youth.
Technology is dictating our lives and the restaurant industry is taking full advantage. An increasing number of them allow guests to order from a menu on a tablet and pay with smartphones.
To speed up traffic, guests can order their meal and drinks online before they arrive at the restaurant, freeing up that nightmare (for both customer and venue) of unwanted downtime while waiting for the waiter to take an order and the meals to arrive.
Futuristically, the advent of wearables and face recognition software will enable the waiter to remember your name when you arrive – does this herald the end of a clandestine lunches?!
Basic flavours are being tested in 2015. For example, root vegetables are being seen as the new potato: how many ways can you serve up parsnip, you may ask? Try fried, mashed, pureed or gratined.
And watch out for a return of the seafood – apparently there is a new sustainable sea-to-table ethos. You may also be interested in a new concept from America, vegetable yoghurt (flavours include butternut squash, beet, carrot, and tomato) and vegetable ice-cream from Japan (tomato-cherry and carrot orange).
Watch out for houmous as an alternative choice to mayonnaise. Favoured in the Middle East, it is now globally seen as a condiment and a topping as well as a dip.
If you’ve never heard the word “neurogastronomy” before, then learn it, as this is the newest thing to come to restaurants. This is basically how all of our senses cumulatively react to food, and how restaurants can profitably manipulate those senses. It is the brainchild of Charles Spence from Oxford University who demonstrated that not only does a pink strawberry dessert taste 10% sweeter on a white plate than a black one, it tastes even sweeter on a round plate than a square one.
Beware the Youth
Finally, watch out for Generation Z. Companies are trying to appeal to Millennials, the social media savvy generation. According to a report on The Entrepreneur website: “As younger teens are finally beginning to make their own decisions about where they go out to eat, restaurants will have to start trying to appeal to a new kind of customer in 2015. That means high-tech service, louder music, moving visuals and heightened experiences.”
In which case, point me in the opposite direction. There is still, and always will be, a generation that goes to restaurants to get away from all that!
There is only one common denominator: a well-equipped, up-to-date, well-maintained and run kitchen. So while restaurant food trends come and go, here at AC Services we stick to an age-old adage that has served the restaurant business more than adequately for over 40 years: “Get a Rational oven and in order for it to produce the best performance year on year, have it regularly serviced by AC Services.”