5 Food and Beverage Trends to Watch
Food and beverage professionals are used to a continuously evolving workplace, as the industry adapts to guests’ changing wants and needs. New technologies and business processes also transform the industry over time. Keeping tabs on the latest trends can offer hints into how food and beverage venues might operate in the future. For those who are curious about the ideas shaping the industry, here are the top food and beverage trends to watch.
The Tipsy Robot is a Las Vegas bar staffed by two robots and eight humans that’s capable of making up to 120 drinks in an hour. Guests order through an app that allows them to select an existing recipe or create their own. While robots don’t yet play such a central role in most other venues, they are increasingly automating some simple tasks such as flipping hamburgers and preparing salads. A recent study estimates that the food robotics industry will grow to $3.35 billion by 2025.
2. Big data
Large hotels and restaurant chains are able to collect more data than ever before, and the growing field of data analysis gives them tools to understand that stream of information and to base business decisions on data-driven insights. Data analysis is especially useful in tracking and sourcing ingredients, monitoring quality, and ensuring consistent standards of customer service.
3. Curbing waste
Chefs such as Tim Ma of Kyirisan in Washington, D.C., have earned accolades for their creative approaches to preventing food waste. Not only is food waste reduction good for the environment, but it also makes sense from a financial perspective. A recent study found that hotels save $7 on average for every $1 they invest in food waste prevention—a significant return. And more than 70 percent of the hotels studied were able to fully recoup their investments in food waste reduction within just one year. Hoteliers have also become more conscious of plastic waste from dining. Hilton, AccorHotels, and Delaware North have announced programs to limit their use of plastic drinking straws.
4. Instagram-worthy presentations
A viral Instagram post of a meal, drinks, or dessert is great publicity for a restaurant. And restaurateurs are encouraging photos by offering colorful foods, striking presentations, and photo-ready lighting. Some restaurants are using white plates or white tablecloths because they serve as convenient backdrops for photos. Others play up the visual appeal of their spaces with murals or unique décor. U.K. restaurant Dirty Bones even gives guests Instagram kits to encourage social media sharing. And since guests can now make reservations at restaurants by following a link from Instagram, a restaurant’s own Instagram account is more essential than ever.
5. Grab-and-go options
Busy hotel guests don’t always have the time or inclination to sit down for a meal, and hotels are accommodating them with grab-and-go choices that they can quickly select, pay for, and take with them. Whereas grab-and-go once meant a personally requested bag lunch from the kitchen, hotels increasingly maintain grab-and-go delis and cafes as convenient standalone spots. Some hotels keep a minimart staffed round the clock so travelers can purchase snacks or entrees whenever they happen to be heading out.