Most have heard some version of the expression “the classic never loses its style”. And while this may sound true in many industries, the catering industry is not one of them. To stay in the game, you need to be open to adapting, evolving and staying on top of trends.
But how do you know which trends are worth adopting and which, very soon, will prove to be shooting stars, especially when new trends continue to emerge at a rapid pace? Unfortunately, there is no crystal ball to predict which success recipes will remain in the spotlight. However, by keeping your interest in the pulse of emerging new trends and testing some of them in microclimates, as long as they fit your business you can better determine which ones work for you.
An unstable labor market, the tendency to “stay home”, the growing consumer demand for delivery and the increase in fast food are among the moves to monitor changes in focus this year as well, according to industry analysts (source: NPD group ).
From the rise of mobile applications to the challenges of job inflation, the catering industry has seen dynamic changes in the market in 2018 – leading to the rise of “ghost restaurants”, delivery and catering forms and packaged meals. But what are the trends to look out for this year?
According to analysts who conducted interviews by Dive Restaurant, the impact of these moves – the evolving expectations of consumers for “smart” menu solutions, the design of the culinary experience and the creation of convenience in all stages of service as part of the customer experience, will intensify in 2019 . To overcome these barriers and stand out from the competition, analysts predict that restaurants will double their digital offerings and continue to experiment with new forms of fast service.
Although growth is not projected for the entire catering industry in 2019, says David Portalatin, President and Analyst at NPD Group at Restaurant Dive, fast food and diversification of the gastronomic experience “.
Starting today and with a series of articles, we will analyze the trends that are expected to shake the focus data in the coming year:
The reversal in delivery
In the USA, out of 61 million orders, 2.8 million (only 5%) of the catering (data: NPD Group survey) are related to internet use. The dynamics of this new sales channel opened the investment space even more.
And while this digital push is shaping everything from point-of-sale systems to booking processes, delivery forms are undoubtedly the service that experiences the strongest transformation. This need for differentiation stems from the fact that 50% of the meals purchased are for home consumption, so a change at every stage of the focus is inevitable.
Although we are still familiar with home food delivery applications, we are expected to see new moves such as those of DoorDash, Postmates and Uber Eats, which range from ordering, online meal evaluation to image sharing from the culinary experience. The change in trends also brings the expected technological development, without affecting the natural development of the restaurant (after all, these meals must be produced somewhere) with a projected increase of 25% in the next 5 years.
The new business model is an innovation, since all the gastronomic experience is electronic, with the operating costs being reduced considerably, since here the location is not relevant. Still, of course, the new sales channel, through digital meal-selling, is small and has significant challenges to face. One of them is the difficulty of delivering brand awareness. If e.g. do you choose to buy food from a marketplace where there are many restaurants and all you have to do is scroll to find out what you want to order, how will you meet / try new businesses and products if you never visit them?
However, even so, the technological explosion that is going to happen in the coming years will be a given. Catering units that have become pioneers in building “relationships of trust” with their customers will have the opportunity to grow further in the years to come.
The need for fast & casual
Analysts expect a growing market share in fast focus, although the game is expected to be given enhanced quality at an ideal value proposition. “We live in a cultural time where all of us foodies are looking for simplicity and that does not come from high focus.”
And when we say fast food we do not mean fast food nation. Now, fast focus is the fast casual nation, a concept that is on the border between fast, less unpretentious, but more quality.
It’s hard to explain what drives this trend in the numbers we see but restaurants are becoming more and more casual casual than ever before. “There are no longer many restaurants where you have to get dressed to go out to dinner. “Even in high focus, there is a phenomenon that we humans become more unpretentious when we go out.”
The lack of time, the digital age and the immediate fulfillment of our desires have created new conditions for a society that wants to have a good time quickly and immediately. What customers are now looking for is the culinary experience combined with the efficiency of their available time.
The new treaty has also benefited restaurant owners , who no longer have to incur increased operating costs with over-sophisticated décor and over-specialized overcrowding to justify the high per capita output of high-end catering.