With the New Year comes new opportunities for your restaurant. As the year changes so do trends and habits. The following trends were observed by BENCHMARK®’s executive chefs and culinary experts at the company’s 80 luxury hotels, resorts and restaurants coast to coast, offshore and in Europe.
In some parts of the world, tea is more popular than coffee. In North America not so much…yet. Consumption of specialty tea has been growing exponentially for the past few years in Canada. By 2020, Euromonitor forecasts that the tea industry will see $20-billion (U.S.) in growth. Tea has many health benefits and comes in an endless variety of flavours. Keep an eye out for craft tea blending, nitro tea on tap and tea-based cocktails in 2019!
Although online and app-based delivery will continue to grow, diners are still looking for experiences. Benchmark projects diners will recognize that restaurant dining offers more than just a tasty meal but an experience all on its own. From learning about new cuisines, people-watching, and building friendships and relationships in a social setting- restaurants offer an experience consumers just can’t get from their couch.
Vegetarian meals are no longer just for vegetarians. Many people are looking for healthy meals and new flavours. Restaurants don’t need to be defined as vegetarian-friendly, many are just assumed to have options that don’t focus on meat. Dishes are even becoming vegetable-focused, spotlighting the vegetable with a protein as “the side.” Vegetarian tasting menus are quickly becoming a mainstay in many restaurants.
Chefs are expanding their creativity and the palettes of their diners. Some offering modern twists on classic ingredients. For example, kale could soon be replaced by wild weeds such as sorrel, dandelion greens and amaranth. Honey and agave will be replaced with derivatives from sources like carrot, sweet potato, golden beet, butternut squash and corn.
Healthy eating is important, but 2019 may take it to the next level. All people are different and just like everything else, they want their meals personalized to their needs. Consumers will begin to craft personal portion sizing relative to their dietary and nutritional needs. Mobile and Internet technologies will allow providers and core consumers to have access to personal dietary requirements at restaurants and quick-service eateries. Benchmark predicts personalized nutrition will become a major influence on diet.