2016 Restaurant Food TrendsIn 2015 we witnessed a comeback for coffee and saw superfood soar amidst the rising buzz of healthy eating. Continuing the trend, the culinary world has become yet more health crazed and tech driven, with the business evolving into new and innovative forms every day. Now that the New Year dust has settled, we can take a breather and look at what is likely to become the norm over the coming year.
From Cook, to Courier, to Customer
It would appear that eating out may have become a bygone event for many digitally-apt customers. Delivery services have grown in unison with the use of smart phones and the almost immeasurable boom of food service apps across Apple and Android. For many the process of talking through orders over the phone has become a chore, and now customers are veering towards digital bookings to cut out the middle man entirely.
Supermarkets caught onto the craze years ago, and only now are restaurant owners witnessing the benefits of adapting to the digital market, as well as the threats posed by those who jumped on the bandwagon early. The UK is already witnessing the effects at their local restaurants and bars, with apps such as Qkr!, MyCheck, FlyPay and Zapper allowing customers to pay or split their bill, add tips and leave their table in a quick few seconds. Developers have even started trialling apps for bar tabs, electronically linking their device to a tab number and paying digitally, with the added benefit of ensuring payment if one forgets about their tab and leaves the bar prematurely.
As well as apps making payments easier at the table, recognisable brands such as Amazon, Yelp and uberEats, who through acting as middlemen can now provide the convenience without you having to leave the office or home. With delicious meals being delivered within an hour, the incentive of loyalty points and the ease of last-minute bookings over the web, the public has begun leaning towards impulse bookings from their mobiles. Prices are only expected to rise with the growing popularity of ‘straight-to-your-door-dining’, and business owners are encouraged to test the benefits of digitisation to keep up with the rising tide.
Taking out the Trash
Chemicals and additives in popular brands are witnessing a cull thanks to an ever-growing awareness from health critics worldwide. Fast-food chains in particular have felt the weight of these culls, and have – for the most part – countered by effectively removing the more off-putting ingredients in their recipes.
These culls are having an effect on worldwide brands like McDonalds and Subway, who have vowed to purge their meats of antibiotics over the coming decade to stop their customers building up a resistance. Other national vendors like Chipotle Mexican Grill are completely removing genetically modified ingredients from the menu. When looking at a global scale, it appears that all fast-food chains threatened are ensuring their food is less unhealthy in the future.
Restaurants meanwhile have taken a more indirect approach, replacing ‘artificial’ additives with ‘natural’ ones, the concern being that organic materials may hinder the taste and flavour of their high-end dishes. However with healthy mindsets growing each year, restaurant owners are encouraged to incorporate more mouth-watering dishes to their menus, ones that can elicit flavour without losing their nutritional value.
Coinciding with the rise of ‘health-aware’ meals, vegetables have begun a revolution, replacing meat as the centrepiece of new and inventive meals. People are becoming more health aware from exercise-matching meals down to foods that compliment their very DNA. Thanks to an increased attention to detail and a disdain for food wastage, many restaurants in the US have already designed delicious signature dishes that incorporate every piece of the vegetable from the peel to the pods (see BaumWhiteman) and are finding fresh methods to make the most of their natural produce.
Meat Matches Demand
Despite the increase in health awareness and vegetable mania, there are signs that Australians continue to love their meat and are eager to keep trying different methods of their favourite poultry. As indicated by GoodFood’s recipe trends for last year, chicken remains the highlight meat, from curries to hunter-style dishes, with pork belly becoming the surprise hit for carnivores across the country.
A contributing factor to this long established admiration could be the public’s want for more food events and tasting festivals. With the modern age focusing on the use of digital interfaces and the removal of person-to-person interaction, people are craving relaxed, communal activities to offset their digital lives. Barbeques have been a long-living element of Australian culinary culture, and can only contribute to this growing hunger for public food gatherings.
Overall the new year holds a great deal of promise for catering establishments across the country, so be encouraged to make an appearance at your local food festival, keep a few fresh ideas for your menu, and check what other local businesses are featuring on food apps. In a time when food trends develop and progress so quickly, keeping a watchful eye can make all the difference.
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