As we come out of the pandemic, consumers are returning to some sort of normalcy. But with COVID variants exploding, costs rising, product shortages and a shrinking labor pool, the Food Service industry will be forever changed. We can no longer run our businesses as we have in the past, as we continue to see uncertain times, and the resulting changes in consumer behavior. So who will succeed in the future? It will be the food service operator that evolves with speed and innovation and it will be the food service operator that really understands the impact of these times on consumer behaviors, not just following the current fad or trend.
In my January 6, 2020 blog, I made some predictions for 2020 and I feel many of these predictions will hold true for the future. As I look across the industry, we will see a continued trend towards healthy and sustainable eating, and diet-friendly menu options; we will continue to see an innovation in technology – from digital marketing and loyalty programs, to strengthening the e-commerce proposition, to cyber-security to contactless technology; we will see necessary changes in the delivery model; we will see Social Justice - beyond the buzzwords; and we will continue to see new food trends and renewed interest in classic stables - Italian, Mexican and Chinese, with a focus on regional specialties. In this blog, I am going to focus on the continued trend towards healthy and sustainable eating, and diet-friendly menu options.
In this post-pandemic era, there is pent up demand to dine out, but consumers are still cautious, and we will not see pre-pandemic sales and traffic for a long time. As a result, food-service operations need to continue to evolve and change in order to be successful.
#2021FoodTrends #2021RestaurantTrends #RestaurantTrends #Restaurants #FoodService
1 Cherryh Cansler, ‘Bold and light: Post-pandemic menu trends revealed’, Fast Casual, May 10, 2021, https://www.fastcasual.com/blogs/bold-and-light-post-pandemic-menu-trends-revealed/
As we enter a new decade, industry experts and chefs have predicted so many trends for 2020. Here are a few trends that I predict for 2020.
Health & Fitness - 2020 will be a year we focus on food as an integral part of our lifestyle. There will be an emphasis on not only healthy food, but food that nourishes the mind and soul.
Our Impact on the Environment - our planet is in distress, and I foresee restauranteurs and chefs taking notice. As an industry we will continue to look for alternatives to plastics and polystyrenes and to sourcing food locally from producers who understand their impact on the environment and society. However in 2020 - we will see bigger changes - an industry that reduces waste significantly, an industry that reduces its consumption of energy and water, and an industry that looks at every product they are using and the impact these products have on the environment.
Vegetables and more Vegetables - menus will be more plant-based, with a greater use of vegetables and a focus on the connection between our food and the impact on our body, mind and soul.
More Conversation at the Table - restaurants will offer more communal tables and offer family-style offerings - thus encouraging interaction and conversation at the table.
"Dry 2020" - the "dry" trend will carry beyond January. Restauranteurs and bartenders will focus on more "dry" spirits - creating amazing "cocktails" that can be enjoyed all day. (And hopefully create a better name than "Mocktails!")
What trends to you predict for restaurants in 2020?
#2020FoodTrends #2020RestaurantTrends #PlantBasedFoods #Vegetables #sustainability #DryJanuary #Communal #HealthAndFitness
Gen Z is on the cusp of being our industry's major consumer with about 80 million members. According to a recent NRA Show panel, this generation will demand the non-negotiables:
- Good value and quality from restaurants, like the food found in fast casual.
- They also want inviting service and a welcoming ambience that makes them feel valued.
- They demand cleanliness and the highest standards of food safety.
Understanding Gen Z and how to approach their needs, will be critical for restaurants to succeed in the coming decades. Are you prepared for Gen Z? If not, let Matrix Restaurant Consulting assist you in preparing for the next generation.
For more on Gen Z, check out this article in Nation's Restaurant News.
What Gen Z Restaurant Consumers Want
As 2016 has been a challenging year for all sectors in the restaurant industry, casual dining continues to fight for survival. According to Knapp Track, casual dining traffic has declined on average 3-percent a year since 2008. I do think there is a need for casual dining restaurants, but I also have said for years - the industry needs to make some dramatic changes in order to survive. For brands to survive in the future - they must find ways to attract younger customers, they need to become "un-chains", they need to find ways to become locally relevant, and they need to invest in the basics - their people and their product. At Matrix Restaurant Consulting, we are here as a resource to re-energize your brand and to help up and coming brands survive in the future. Let's get started today! Contact Us.
For more on the issues casual dining is facing, check out this article: Casual Dining Fights for Survival
I recently returned from Kenya and Tanzania and I am not surprised but the recent article from Nation's Restaurant News. Kenya offers such diverse foods - the coast offers the flavors of India and the spice trade, the central province is rich with produce - specifically Cabbage, Potatoes and Carrots, and Maize is a key staple throughout the country. It is wonderful to see the vibrant and unique flavors becoming more mainstream. While I was in Kenya, I spent time in the kitchen of an orphanage where I volunteer. While I was there, I made Sukuma Wiki - a dish made from greens (Kale, Spinach, etc) and other vegetables such as carrots. Sukuma Wiki literally translates to "push the week" or "stretch the week" - as the family would make this to stretch their food budget. I also made my version of Lentil Stew - where I seasoned it with onion, garlic, oregano and curry powder - and Ugali - a starchy side dish made from Maize meal.
To read more about this trend: African Food Takes the Slow Road to Trendiness
I was recently in Los Angeles and had dinner with my family at one of my favorite sushi restaurants, The Izaka-ya by Katsu-Ya West Hollywood, and I was amazed at the number of families in the restaurant. Almost all of the tables had young children eating sushi! It's not surprising that children are becoming more sophisticated in their eating habits and as a result your restaurant's Kid's Menu should reflect this shift in taste. Additionally, with the issues we are facing with child obesity, parents are looking for healthier options for their children. The Matrix Restaurant Consultants have extensive experience in developing great Kid's Menus and building brand advocates at an early age.
Here's a great article on what some restaurant companies are doing to overhaul and improve their Kid's Menus.
Kids' meals leap beyond child’s play
The 2016 James Beard Awards Gala, hosted by Carla Hall, took place at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday, May 2. I was very excited that Nashville's own, Tandy Wilson of one of my favorite restaurants - City House - won Best Chef: Southeast. (pictured below)
I was also jazzed (pardon the pun) to hear that Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in New Orleans won the 2016 JBF Lifetime Achievement Award! Congratulations to all the award winners!
For a complete list of winners: 2016 James Beard Award Winners.
@cityhousenashville @cityhouse #cityhousenashville #nashville #nashvillerestaurants
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released late last week its final guidance on menu labeling. The announcement last week further specified that the compliance clock would begin counting down from the date that the Notice of Availability (NOA) is published in the Federal Register. The NOA for the guidance is expected to be published in early May 2016.
So what does this mean for my restaurants? If you have 20 or more locations, you will have until May 2017 to post calories on your menus and provide nutritional analysis for each menu item. This is a lengthy and arduous process and Matrix Restaurant Consulting is here to help you through the process.
For more information: FDA Guidance Documents
I wanted to continue the conversation from my Feb 4 Blog entry on game changers in the restaurant industry. As many of you know the Craft Beer industry has exploded as consumer tastes move from mass produced products to more specialized and unique products that fit their lifestyle and personality. Now small distilleries are making the same waves in the spirits market, hoping to shake up an industry long dominated by mass distillers. So are there lessons the restaurant industry can learn from these artisan and craft distillers and brewers? There certainly are many lessons we can learn! Consumers are searching out products that are not mass produced, products that are connected to their communities, products that have a story, products that have a purpose and mission and products that fit their lifestyle. Now many would argue that there are restaurants that fit these needs, such as farm-to-table restaurants. And I would certainly agree. However, there are two lessons we have missed - less is more and craft can be approachable. Less is more - menus have, yet again, become a laundry list of ingredients, packed with buzz words; and dishes are loaded with ingredients, so much so, the essence of the craft ingredients are getting lost. Craft can be approachable - it's ok to be passionate and knowledgable about the craft or artisan ingredients you use, but we need to be careful that this doesn't bleed into pretension. Consumers should have the option to have as little or as much information as possible, and by using these ingredients, restauranteurs should not use this as an opportunity to charge exhorborant prices. Being a game changer is about harnessing knowledge, passion and consumer needs, but being humble and down-to-earth in your approach.
For more about the changes in the Craft Sprits industry, check out this article.
Craft Spirits Come of Age
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