What to expect in Food & Beverage – Let’s look at the trends

Cuisine – We are seeing movement from overly manipulated food to simpler, cleaner preparations with lighter food, maintaining flavors that are bold and edgy. Here are a few trends we will see more of:

·      Chef-centered concepts

·      Locally sourced, but not necessarily organic or health foods

·      Reasonable portions – walk away satiated, but you can still walk!

·      Underutilized meats and seafood – rebirthed with sexier names

·      Exotic grains and seeds

·      House-made ingredients – from pickles to condiments, charcuterie, and beyond. Let the Chef create!

·      Ethnic spices, ingredients, and fused dishes

·      Sustainable seafood [but really this time!]

·      Lightly sweet, sometimes savory, and smaller sized desserts

·      Grown-up street food

·      Still more forms of bacon, which continues to dominate the taste buds

·      Healthful kid’s meals, but ones that are still attractive to kids

·      All day breakfast inspired meals

·      Shared plates designed for grazing

·      Take home kits – all you need to take with and cook at home

Beverage – The art of Crafted Cocktails continues to grow, but with an emphasis on the individual bartender’s skills and passion. These passionate individuals are hard to come across and are almost Chef-like in their approach to the art of mixing and of blending flavors. Trends to look out for:

·      Barrel aged in-house

·      Flavored [but not sweet] beers

·      Dessert Cocktails for after-dinner – or not!

·      Better wine apps are leading to more thoughtful and appropriate menus and pricing

·      Boutique Rums continue to grow

·      Food components as ingredients – cucumber, fennel, tomato, herbs

·      Spicy or sharp cocktail ingredients – cayenne, chili, wasabi

·      Lunch cocktails are back – for a light afternoon pick-me-up

·      Quality boxed wine is making a comeback

Restaurants – New concepts are tending to be specific in design, yet vague in menu. These concepts tend to be an adventure telling a story with a style, feel, and design of a cuisine that links to the type of style of preparation, food ingredients, and décor, all the while offering broad menu choices. They are using a mix of authentic and fused dishes with key ingredients laced throughout the menu – appealing to all. Other Trends to watch:

·      Native American Fusion

·      Basque Cuisine

·      Hawaiian influenced menu items

·      Southern Nouvelle

·      Gluten free and meat free – without being touted

·      Delivery – restaurants struggle to incorporate the growing demand for delivery service into their daily business model

·      Hotel restaurants are making a comeback

·      Ingredients terms: Burnt, bubbly, washed with, spiked, adorned, teased, crafted, scorched, salubrious

Styles – light and airy seems to be the design of choice with little clutter and clean lines. Natural elements adorn the walls and tabletops. Color palette focuses on white [or light] with splashes of color.

Service – Genuine, authentic, and knowledgeable service staff. We are seeing a new breed of wait-staff. Great news – Bohemian is in. The lifestyles fit together, and thus we are experiencing a resurgence of passionate and skilled servers into the restaurant scene – along with tattoos, piercings, and larger than life characters!

Two Fun Concepts to look out for:

·      Chefs create, or finish, at your table – a modern twist on the classical style table side cooked meal

·      Guest immersion – entertainment in the restaurant: movies, singing, poetry, vignettes, who-done-its, even gaming

Author, Russ Blakeborough is a Food & Beverage Consultant with Focus – F&B.  He enjoys designing new concepts for restaurants of all types, creating the story, and focusing on new trends to help you elevate your offerings.  Contact him at www.focus-fb.com.

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