trends

Imagining the Restaurant of the Future

A day spent musing on leading edge thinking at the Food and Drink Trends & Innovations Conference 2017 sparked many a thought about the future direction of this exciting and dynamic industry. One topic in particular (aside from of course the great presentation on innovation shared by Paul Gaskell and Steve Reeves) really got me thinking.

Listening to a discussion on restaurant trends, led by Anna Fenten from Levy Restaurants UK, I reflected on the following:

How different would a restaurant started in five years’ time look compared to now?

A focus on reducing food waste: Young Danish upstart Too Good To Go have recently launched in the UK. Their app connects restaurants who have surplus food at the end of service with customers wanting great food at a discount. It’s an excellent example of a business delivering a triple win; it gives restaurants a boost to their bottom line, it reduces food wastage, and is good for the end consumer who get a cheaper meal.

Further embracing of the takeaway customer: Deliveroo, Ubereats and JustEat have redefined the takeaway and enable consumers to enjoy restaurant quality food at home. Innovation in this industry is just getting started. Deliveroo have recently launched Deliveroo Editions last month, a series of “dark” kitchens for casual dining brands to rent and use solely for their takeaway customers. This allows restaurants to optimising their food for takeaway and take pressure off their own kitchens.

Greater use of technology to attract customers: Smart Home services like Google’s Echo and Amazon’s Alexa may soon be able to respond sensitively to the question “where shall we go for dinner?” by overlaying customer cuisine preferences, propensity to travel for food, and cross-reference with table availability (or takeaway delivery wait times). Surely this is more intuitive than panic Googling? The development of Facebook Messenger bot apps also enable restaurants to engage customers through new channels at just the right moment to entice them in.

A slicker in-restaurant experience: Eating out will mostly likely always need a human element, but soon many elements of service could become automated. Apps like CAKE and Qkr make paying the bill less of a pain, and brands like McDonald’s and Applebee’s are embracing self-service kiosks and iPads for great efficiency when ordering. Who knows, maybe your food will be delivered to your table by drone?

More flexible restaurant spaces: The rise of the pop-up restaurant allows for restaurateurs to trial new concepts more flexibly and at lower upfront cost. In fact, why shell out for a restaurant at all when you could host your restaurant in an inspiring space for a few months at a time before packing up and moving on? It helps make the high street more vibrant, allows for chefs to test more experimental ideas, as well as give established restaurant brands the opportunity to test their vision in new areas without investing too much first.

One thing is for sure. Disruption in the restaurant business is just getting started.

Originally published on The Value Engineers’ blog.

FOOD AND DRINK TRENDS FOR 2015 (PART 3)

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Along with my colleagues at The Value Engineers we have put together a list of 15 Food and Drink Trends we think will happen in 2015! Over the next few days I will be publishing three blog posts describing all these trends, from the realistic to the outlandish! Do you think we have got it right? Are there any we have missed?  And so for our final instalment…

11. Click here for your Lunch

2015 will see food and drinks brands using digital channels in increasingly innovative ways to deliver better service and reduce their overheads. Starbucks is trialling a “click and collect” service for coffee through their app. In Australia McDonald’s offer a fully customisable burger you can order through a tablet- and collect in real time! Some restaurants will even begin letting guests order and pay for meals through their phone to free up waiter time!

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12. Gamey Meats hit the Menu

With consumers becoming increasingly adventurous in what they eat, expect meats outside to standard chicken, lamb, beef and pork to gain a following. Nutritious, delicious and exciting, expect venison, partridge and other game birds to hit mainstream menus: no longer just for the top table!

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13. Bubble Tea Explosion

This trend has been bubbling under the surface for a while, but bubble tea looks set to explode into the mainstream. Tapioca balls at the bottom of iced tea? It shouldn’t work but it does, and already has a loyal following in the UK thanks to the likes of Bubbleology and Cuppacha. Expect a high street chain in the UK to begin offering the drink- in Germany McDonald’s began trialling bubble tea in 2012!

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14. Seaweed Salad

Super sustainable and with enormous supplies available just off-shore of the British isles it’s a wonder seaweed hasn’t found its way on to our plates sooner. This is one to watch over a longer period of time, but seaweed is already being experimented with in different formats from trendy London restaurants to wholefood and health stores.

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15. Lunch on Bugs?

Cricket anyone? Bugs may be pushing our predictions, but with the global price of meat rising and health conscious western diets slowly shifting away from the meat and two veg formula consumers are looking for new sources of protein. Soya has had it’s hey-day, and the cost and environmental impact of land-intensive farming is fuelling a shift towards alternate sources of proteins – where better to look than the insect world?

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To read about our first 5 Food and Drink trends for 2015 click here. To read about our second 5 Food and Drink trends for 2015 click here.

 

 

FOOD AND DRINK TRENDS FOR 2015 (PART 2)

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Along with my colleagues at The Value Engineers we have put together a list of 15 Food and Drink Trends we think will happen in 2015! Over the next few days I will be publishing three blog posts describing all these trends, from the realistic to the outlandish! Do you think we have got it right? Are there any we have missed? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section! And so for our second instalment…

6. Gluten Free Sandwiches

Gluten Free has enjoyed considerable growth as a category, fuelled by rising allergen and free-from trends. The logical next step is for gluten-free products which put content claims front and centre to give way to new brands contesting for market share and shelf space within this category. We expect 2015 to be a good year for new brands launching into the gluten free space with something more than “gluten free” as a reason to believe.

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7. Coconut Oil Cooking

Coconut water has enjoyed enormous success in both UK and US markets in recent years, and it now looks like coconut oil will be riding that wave. Already popular among an early adopting crowd for its concentration of fatty acids and perceived health benefits it is replacing ordinary cooking oils in a number of households.

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8. Go Matcha

Matcha is Green Tea in powder form, already found in soba noodles, green tea flavoured ice creams and other oriental products. We’re keeping our eyes on the taste pioneers who are finding interesting new ways to use matcha in various dishes – cold tea beverages have already made their way into the market, but there is potential to extend into desserts, hot drinks, breakfast occasions and more.

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9. Say Cheers with Ginger Beer!

With adult soft drinks growing considerably, and the war on sugar looming over the category at large, expect interesting developments over the next year. A noted favourite on the street food scene, and making a comeback via gastropubs we think 2015 could be the year to crack open a ginger beer.

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10. Drink your veg!

Although this trend was previously a non-starter, 2015 looks set to be its year. In response to concerns around the level of sugar in drinks, drinks brands will look to vegetables to offer exciting flavour innovations. Fresh tasting, healthy and vibrant, vegetables look set to be the new darling of the drinks world. Innocent have already released fruit and veg fresh pressed juice, but expect other brands to follow suit.

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For part 1 of our Food and Drink trends for 2015 click here.

For part 3 of our Food and Drink trends for 2015 click here.

FOOD AND DRINKS TRENDS FOR 2015! (PART 1)

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Along with my colleagues at The Value Engineers we have put together a list of 15 Food and Drink Trends we think will happen in 2015! Over the next few days I will be publishing three blog posts describing all these trends, from the realistic to the outlandish! Do you think we have got it right? Are there any we have missed? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section! And so for our first instalment…

1. Gourmet Hot Dogs

With the gourmet burger trend fully hitting the mainstream, foodies are turning to a new takeaway staple to jazz up- the hot dog. Think high quality meat, adventurous toppings and brioche buns. Bubbledogs and Jamie Oliver’s Diner, both in London, already serve gourmet dogs but expect 2015 to be the year that these dogs have their day.

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2. Mezze Madness

The next wave of ethic cuisine that looks set to take Europe by storm is from Lebanon. Elevating the traditional kebab, think freshly made hummus, falafel and grilled meats! The likes of Beirut Express, Yalla Yalla and Comptori Libanais are already serving such deliciousness but 2015 will be the year that Lebanese food really hits the big time. Move over Chinese and Indian food, there’s a new cuisine in town!

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3. Hot Sauce Provenance

Consumer thirst for hot sauce is continuing to rise. 2015 will be the year that in order to further differentiate brands will play up the provenance of their hot sauces. Think Jamaican scotch bonnet, Indian Ghost chilli and Mexican Jalapeño hot sauces! Brands will also play up the flavour credentials of their hot sauces and what they can add to food- just being hot is no longer good enough!

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4. Going Nuts for Nuts

From nut butters & spreads to less conventional formats like nut drinks, 2015 is the year we’re going nuts for nuts. Hitting back against rising allergy trends and free-from, a number of new brands are emerging in the nut category capitalizing on health benefits such as high levels of protein and fibre, as well as snack-ability. Whether it’s cashews replacing peanut butter, almond replacing soy milk nuts are on their way.

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5. Refined Taste of the Orient

London’s street food scene this year has been dominated by new formats of oriental and Asian food – from Vietnamese Pho to Korean kimchi. In the year ahead we expect this trend to start gaining wider traction: showing the public that there is more to Asian food than Chinese sweet and sour!

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To read our next 5 Food and Drink trends for 2015 click here for part 2. To read our final 5 Food and Drink trends for 2015 click here for part 3.