Thanks to innovative design and technological interventions, restaurants around the world are adopting new ways of doing business – practices that were practically unthinkable even half a decade ago! The last couple of years saw a whole bunch of new trends emerging in the global F&B industry – right from the popularity of Brussles sprouts and lobster rolls to increased Mexican, Korean and Indian influences in world cuisine; to upscale vegan food items and restaurants preparing meals ‘in-front’ of customers rather than in ‘back-end’ kitchens. However, as with any trend, some ideas stick, others are replaced by new fads.
Here’s a round-up of the most popular F&B industry trends that became popular in 2015 and are predicted to stick around (if not grow stronger!) in 2016 too:
The ‘Farm to Fork’ Fad: This year, we saw a resurgence of the ‘farm-to-fork’ trend – a practice that had begun to fade out from restaurant menus. Although primarily a marketing gimmick, foodservice business owners did capitalize on the idea in a big way, with a view to becoming more sustainable and ‘environment-friendly’ and at the same time attracting customers with responsively grown, locally produced and procured, pesticides-free, non-processed and highly nutritional food items on their menus.
No to GMO (At Last!): With diners around the world becoming more conscious about the kind of food they’re putting in their mouths, restaurants, including some of the biggest chains such as McDonald’s and Chipotle, amended their menus, altered their recipes and lured in customers with fresh, organic and healthier food items.
The ‘Build Your Own’ Trend: Pioneered by the sandwich giant Subway, the ‘build your own’ trend gained major momentum this year with customers having the freedom of choice to custom-make their own pizzas, burgers and paninis.
Healthier Eating the DIY Way: With the focus shifting from pleasing the taste buds to keeping the abs in shape, this year saw more and more restaurant menus offering pick and choose options to customers and diversifying their portfolios to cater to vegans, gluten-free eaters and paleo diet enthusiasts. With healthy eating becoming a way of life, we really hope this trend picks up more momentum in 2016!
Local is the New Global: From farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to locally produced coffee and from regional seafood to locally brewed beer, ‘local’ certainly became the biggest norm in the global food and industry business this year. Supply chains got consolidated and the focus shifted on eating fresh, supporting the local communities and going ‘green’!
Growth of Fast-Casual Restaurants: Next-gen dining preferences are all about enjoying high quality, quick service at incredibly low price points (also, no tips!), which is why the popularity of full service restaurants dipped this year, fast-casual restaurants, with their interesting menus and competitive pricing boomed.
Food Goes Mobile: Mobile food ordering and payment picked up incredible pace this year, thanks to digital revolution. While customers had restaurant menus in their pockets at all times (on their Smartphones), payment apps such as Apply Pay and Google Wallet diminished the physical distance between customers and their favorite food joints and made quick payments easier than ever before!
Digital Servers Replace Human Interfaces: Goodbye human servers, hello digital kiosks! Decreasing selection, ordering and payment time, digital kiosks became increasingly popular in 2015 and were seen at almost every major fast casual restaurant. They helped food outlets to address their biggest problem – that of employee hiring, retention and turnover. What’s more – customers could also rate their experiences with the help of apps! Will smaller restaurants cut their manpower and give in to this trend in 2016? That, we’ll have to wait and see!
The 24×7 Open Concept: Globalization and overlapping world time meridians mean that the world is in business 24×7. With traditional meal timings becoming a concept of the past, more and more restaurant chains introduced the concept of ‘24×7’ dining to cater to a new target group that worked at unconventional hours. The ‘all day breakfast’ concept also became more popular in 2015 and is predicted to gain more momentum in the coming years. Needless to say, the day-and-night service concept is quite profitable for restaurants too!
Food Everywhere! From sophisticated mobile menus to fresh food and drink vending machines to trendy ‘pick and go’ street kiosks and pop-up restaurants, good quality food became more accessible to customers in 2015. With a steady increase in the demand for technology-enabled food delivery service, we’re pretty sure that the way we buy and consume food is about to change incredibly in the coming years.
Millennials Have All the Power: 2015 witnessed the rise of the millenniums as the most influential customer group in the food and beverage business. With massive spending power and need (not luxury!) for superior quality and customized F&B items, they are predicted to represent almost 40% of global restaurant revenues by the year 2020.
Chef-Driven Service Outlets and Food Delivery Services on the Rise: Could there be anything better than a celebrity chef preparing your meal and ensuring that it gets delivered at your doorstep? We bet not! 2015 saw more and more ‘chef-entrepreneurs’ capitalizing on their individual brand value and redefining the food delivery service, while keeping the quality of the meals top-notch. At the same time, fine-dining chefs around the world also got into the multi-location QSR business, ensuring that their franchises used the same ingredients and cooking tricks and techniques to prepare meals as they did in their personal kitchens.
Something for Everyone! This year, foodservice brands and businesses around the world weighed in a very important factor, instrumental in helping them stay profitable – the Generation Z. They realized how the iGen will soon replace the current group of millennials and prepped themselves to cater to the demands of this new target segment. With young diners stepping up their demands for trendier dining spaces and high-tech service, an increasing number of restaurants revamped their shop concept designs, tweaked their menus and revamped their services to appeal to the new age-group.
These were some of the hottest trends in the F&B industry this year. Now that you have a headstart, this might be a good time to consider whether your restaurant or F&B concept needs to be redesigned and re-branded to keep up with the times. Talk to us at DESITA today!