Dining Trends for 2015
In addition to the Cuisine and Food Trends we reported on last month, we now are looking at the trends that will be shaping the dining industry for 2015.
The Death of Yes: Chefs are putting their foot (and clogs) down. They are growing weary of diners (especially Millennials), turning their menu upside down and recreating their own dishes. Substitutions are fine, but designing a whole new dish? It compromises the integrity of the dish, and….well…it’s just not cool.
A Rise of New Technology: Unlike anything we have seen before and involving the guest. Changes such as: ordering on Tablets & Touchscreens, ordering ahead and a meal served upon arrival, more options for reservations including getting into any restaurant when you want for a price, pay at the guest’s table by credit card or smart phone (and the credit card does not leave their sight), use of ApplePay and other electronic wallets, facial recognition (to add a personal touch for repeat customers), text messages as reminders of reservations.
Buy A Ticket for Dinner: High end restaurants with reservations pacing months out, are starting to have guests purchase “tickets” for dinner, just like seats at a performance, and they are often non-refundable. Restaurants get paid before dinner; even before buying food which enhances cash flow and reduces excessive inventory—they’ve always got a guaranteed house-count.
Shrinking Lunch Hour: Sadly few consumers have time for the leisurely lunch anymore, and restaurants must adapt. Offering food items to go in creative boxes, and making it easier to order, pick up and pay, or even to be delivered will be popular in select areas.
Family-Style Dining: The prix fixe “Sunday Supper” is becoming an opportunity for adventurous cooking, and often served family-style in bowls and plates to be passed and shared.
Food Halls: This concept offers a plethora of casual dining options, with international cuisine, bar & craft beers, creatively set along-side other artisans peddling honey, salsas, candles, olive oils and teas. This revival is moving like a wave across the country.
More Take Away for Dining At Home: However this does not mean preparing it all at home. Creative packaged solutions for “take away” will be a part of the restaurant lexicon this year.
Coffee Houses Enter The Dining Frey: Pressured by rising real estate, coffee houses & shops are rethinking their business models. The need to fill in the down times—meaning most of the day. Local craft beers and wine may help, however the proper go-withs are needed. So along come limited menu items such as: charcuterie boards, patisserie-quality desserts, salads, and even live entertainment.
Chefs Downsize: Some chefs and restaurateurs are really rethinking back-breaking, high-risk commitments to multi-star dining as customers pledge allegiance to the fast “casualization” of America. Some are ditching the flowers, linens, reservation systems, truffles, expensive china, and no-shows for a simpler approach!
So there you have it my friends. The ins and outs of dining trends for this coming year. Next month, we will take a look at Cocktails and The Beverage Trends for 2015.
Sources: Personal interviews with chefs and owners, restaurant consultants with a pulse on worldly trends, National Restaurant Association, Nation’s Restaurant News, a trends study by Baum + Whiteman a well-known food and restaurant consulting company, Andrew Freeman in his eighth annual trend prediction report for 2015, by his firm Andrew Freeman & Co., based in San Francisco and of course my personal opinion as a very observant foodie aficionado.