5 Key Hospitality Food Trends for 2018

In 2017, we uncovered a range of food trends changing the hospitality industry. Among these trends were healthy eating, sustainable food sourcing, and niche drinks.

But it’s a new year, and with it comes evolving trends! So we’ve decided to have another stab at it by predicting the following hospitality trends for 2018.

1. Food Delivery Services Will Grow

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In 2017, third party food delivery services contributed a 2% increase in restaurant revenues and this number is only expected to rise.

The trend towards home and office deliveries continues to surge, with services such as Menulog and Deliveroo dominating the market. And with an increasing number of venues joining the charge, it means increasingly more choice for these service users.

Third party delivery services can help to broaden your customer base and prove an important new revenue stream, but they can also raise some important questions.

How can you guarantee delivery orders won’t interfere with your in-house customers? And how will you combat such issues as upsells and establishing loyalty from afar? You’ll have to learn how to effectively deal with control quality and service standards, but there’s no doubt this will be a growing trend in the hospitality industry in the months ahead.

2. A Rise in Table Technology

We’ve only just seen the beginning of a shift in hospitality venues towards increasingly automated services, thanks to a rise in technology.

Using tablets and smartphones for orders and service will become increasingly popular as it becomes more affordable and accessible for all venues. Some venues are even banishing waiters, with diners ordering via tablets on their tables.

The 100 Burgers Group has used this strategy to great effect at its Hightail bar in Collins Square, Melbourne. It has created its own app for customers to order from three venues simultaneously without needing to visit three separate counters.

Online bookings services such as ResDiary and OpenTable are allowing customers to search for appropriate dates and book a table for their favourite restaurant without needing a word from the venue. Indeed, Dimmi has recently launched a Google plugin to enable customers to make a booking from within Google search pages.

Meanwhile, cashless payments, such as Apple Pay, will make purchases even more seamless. Customers will even be able to pre-purchase their orders so they need only arrive to collect their food.

3. The Popularity of Food Precincts

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Picture: Hightail Bar

In the last point, we mentioned the Hightail bar – a high class food precinct of three venues working together to deliver one seamless system.

Classy food precincts that deliver a holistic experience, rather than the cookie-cutter shopping centre food courts we’re used to, are on the rise. Think about Tramsheds at Harold Park in Sydney, or Fish Lane near Brisbane’s South Bank.

These “food destinations” capitalise on Australia’s foodie culture by featuring hatted restaurants, artisan patisseries, and gourmet individual businesses all on the same floor space.

Food precincts are also encouraging a rise in pop up venues and food trucks. They may be offshoots of renowned restaurants, where consumers can get a taste for the real deal, or startups looking for low-cost entry into the market.

4. Excellent, Happy Staff Will Be the Key to Success

With the rise of technology and delivery services, venues will need to go above and beyond to coax patrons through their doors.

A focus on outstanding customer service is one way for businesses to convince consumers that they’ll only have best experience at their venue. And to achieve this, many businesses are turning their attention to staff training and engagement.

Whether it’s a quick service restaurant, a bar or a full-service restaurant, gold standard service is becoming increasingly popular as a way to encourage repeat visits.

But for hatted restaurants, many business owners are starting to address the high-stress environments of busy kitchens. The talk has increased since the mid-2017 death of respected chef Jeremy Strode. With long hours, intense work, and few financial rewards, kitchen staff are prone to mental health issues.

There’s talk throughout the industry of fostering better work-life balance for kitchen staff. Owner-chef of Attica Ben Shewry has tried to combat the issue by instituting four-day working weeks, with several venues around the country following suit.

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5. Social Responsibility Will Become Increasingly Important

In 2017, we saw hospitality venues across the country register their support for marriage equality and display it online and at their venues. Venues are increasingly showing support for a variety of causes, from marine conservation to homegrown produce.

Conscious consumerism has a large role to play in this shift towards social responsibility in the hospitality industry. Venues are progressively responding to consumer demand for ethical and sustainable business models.

2018 will see a growing trend in the hospitality industry towards responsible business models. That might be discounts for consumers who bring their own coffee mug, banning the bag, or efforts to reduce food waste.

Whatever hospitality trends you choose to embrace in 2018, it’s just as important as ever to embrace it wholeheartedly. A half-hearted effort is just as ineffective as no effort at all. So jump on the bandwagon and chase after these trends!

And if you do institute anything we’ve listed here, we’d love to hear your experience! Share your efforts on our Facebook page or read more inspiration on our Impos blog today!