Ten global foodservice trends

Michael Jones and Tina Nielsen of FCSI’S Foodservice Con­sul­tant mag­a­zine high­light 10 key, long-term trends shap­ing global foodservice

Hospitality News Middle East - - CONTENTS - fcsi.org

1. Shrink­ing com­mer­cial kitchen spa­ces

A long­stand­ing theme in foodservice is that op­er­a­tors have to do more with less as the foot­print for com­mer­cial kitchens con­tin­ues to shrink. The real es­tate of any foodservice op­er­a­tion has al­ways been highly prized as own­ers at­tempt to squeeze in more pay­ing pun­ters, while eat­ing away at the space in­hab­ited by the ‘cost-cen­ter’ kitchen. The in­dus­try has an­swered this trend by in­tro­duc­ing more so­phis­ti­cated, smaller and multi-func­tional equip­ment.

“This is a grow­ing area of de­sign con­cern. There is also a man­age­ment com­po­nent here of in­te­gra­tion of pro­duc­tion and de­sign within the foot­print,” warns US con­sul­tant Rudy Mi­ick FCSI of The Mi­ick Com­pa­nies.

2. In­sta­bil­ity in the ca­sual din­ing scene

The ca­sual din­ing sec­tor, which had oth­er­wise ex­pe­ri­enced vast growth glob­ally over the last decade, now faces a catch-22 dilemma – scal­ing up (and tak­ing on more debt as a re­sult) in a sat­u­rated mar­ket is seem­ingly the only way to re­main com­pet­i­tive, but many big brands, some pre­vi­ously deemed ‘too big to fail’, have fallen by the way­side in the last 12 months. There is no doubt it is tough out there.

The last decade has seen the sub­ject of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency turn from lip ser­vice and mean­ing­less mar­ket­ing speak on com­pany brochures into a gen­uine hot but­ton is­sue

The mar­ket re­mains alive though, thanks to au­toma­tion, food de­liv­ery op­tions and menu in­no­va­tion, but re­cent high-pro­file clo­sures, show noth­ing is sa­cred in ca­sual din­ing. “While the mar­ket is ex­pand­ing, suc­cess is not guar­an­teed,” says Do­minic All­port, in­sights di­rec­tor, NPD Group.

3. Food de­liv­ery mar­ket soars

While many ca­sual din­ing brands have failed to keep up with chang­ing con­sumer habits, some in­di­vid­ual op­er­a­tors have found op­por­tu­nity and suc­cess amidst an evolv­ing high-street land­scape. Tech-driven food de­liv­ery brands such as Ubereats, Ama­zon, Just Eat, De­liv­eroo, Seam­less, Grub­hub and Do­or­dash are tak­ing hold. UK fast-ca­sual restau­rant group Tor­tilla Mex­i­can Grill has cer­tainly cap­i­tal­ized on the bur­geon­ing con­sumer de­mand for greater food de­liv­ery op­tions from their fa­vorite op­er­a­tors – the chain saw de­liv­ery sales dou­ble in 2017 com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year. “De­liv­ery is the sin­gle big­gest dis­rup­tor in the whole of the in­dus­try,” says Tor­tilla’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Richard Mor­ris. “The ad­vent of de­liv­ery has im­mea­sur­ably helped us at times of the day, such as evenings, when we weren’t get­ting much busi­ness. You reach a point when you re­al­ize de­liv­ery is here to stay and you can push against it or em­brace it.”

4. An in­creased fo­cus on en­ergy ef­fi­ciency

The last decade has seen the sub­ject of en­ergy ef­fi­ciency turn from lip ser­vice and mean­ing­less mar­ket­ing speak on com­pany brochures into a gen­uine hot but­ton is­sue. Op­er­a­tors are now putting in­creas­ing pres­sure on their man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ners to sup­ply them with more sus­tain­able ma­chines that are kinder to the planet. Why? Be­cause there are gen­uine cost­sav­ing re­sults to be had from in­stalling ma­chines that use less wa­ter, en­ergy and chem­i­cals. What is good for the en­vi­ron­ment can, it seems fi­nally, also be good for the bot­tom line.

5. Pres­sure on sup­ply chains

World­wide po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity and un­cer­tainty fac­ing the fu­ture of trade deals (or a lack thereof) fol­low­ing both Brexit and NAFTA

rene­go­ti­a­tions has had an in­evitable ef­fect on global food sup­ply chains. While po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic ten­sions es­ca­late in Europe, pres­i­dent Trump’s pro­tec­tion­ist stance has seen the US im­pose un­prece­dented levies on Europe’s pro­duc­ers.

Sup­ply chain fragility also hasn’t been helped by his­toric sum­mer tem­per­a­tures in 2018 with agri­cul­ture bear­ing the brunt and poor yields be­ing the re­sult. Ris­ing food prices will in­evitably fol­low. UK con­sul­tant Chris Stern FCSI says “all sec­tors” are be­ing bent out of shape as cli­mates change. “Sup­pli­ers who fail to be ag­ile will strug­gle. Agility is an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant fac­tor.”

Sup­ply chain fail­ures can also hap­pen to the big­gest of brands – a chicken short­age led KFC to tem­po­rar­ily close more than 700 of its 900 UK restau­rants.

6. How Mil­len­ni­als are shap­ing the fu­ture of foodservice

We have fo­cused on the cus­tomer of the fu­ture in FCSI’S Foodservice Con­sul­tant and it is clear that Mil­len­ni­als and the groups that come af­ter Gen­er­a­tions Z and Al­pha will change the mar­ket hugely. They are global, so­cial, dig­i­tal, mo­bile and vis­ual. They want an ex­pe­ri­ence – not just a meal – they care about the food qual­ity and are happy to pay more for what they like. Shar­ing is key to the ex­pe­ri­ence with so­cial me­dia be­ing a huge fac­tor in their de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

Em­ploy­ers should take note of the staff mem­bers of the fu­ture – they ex­pect nicer work­ing en­vi­ron­ments and gen­der equal­ity.

Melissa Ab­bot, vice pres­i­dent of culi­nary in­sight at Hart­man Group in the US: “These younger gen­er­a­tions are say­ing, ‘this is who we are, that’s enough – peo­ple need to be treated fairly and eq­ui­tably’. I think there will be a lot of strife in the next decade, but hope­fully the out­come will be a more eq­ui­table foodservice in­dus­try.”

7. Foodservice goes cash­less

Coun­tries in the east, most no­tably China, are lead­ing the way when it comes to im­ple­men­ta­tion of cash­less tech­nol­ogy. Con­sumers are quick to em­brace new ways of pay­ing, whether that is by app or phone.

Though cash­less pay­ments are com­mon in most parts of the world, they only re­ally taken off in Europe in the last cou­ple of years. In China, mean­while, this has been taken to a new level. As Zoe Bow­ley, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Pizza Ex­press ex­plained to us re­cently, Euro­pean coun­tries are of­ten slow to catch up. “We have just launched pay at table now and in a few years it will be the norm, but right now it is not in the cus­tomers’ psy­che to pay on the app. In China you wouldn’t dream of sig­nal­ing for the bill, it is all done through tech­nol­ogy.”

8. Menus con­tinue to get ‘op­ti­mized’ and more fo­cused

This is a key strat­egy for any op­er­a­tor aim­ing to stay afloat in a world of un­pre­dictable sup­ply and ris­ing prices. A steely fo­cus on the menu is vi­tal – keep it flex­i­ble to adapt to what­ever pro­duce is avail­able, but main­tain a con­stancy to re­tain the pro­file you want. It is of­ten the case that smaller is bet­ter. “It is qual­ity over quan­tity,” says John Turenne FCSI, pres­i­dent of Sus­tain­able Food Sys­tems in the US. “This al­lows for in­creased food qual­ity with­out in­creas­ing la­bor

Em­ploy­ers should take note of the staff mem­bers of the fu­ture – they ex­pect nicer work­ing en­vi­ron­ments and gen­der equal­ity

costs.” It does make it harder to sat­isfy the pref­er­ences of a broad cus­tomer group, but an in­creas­ingly well-in­formed din­ing pub­lic can of­ten ap­pre­ci­ate a well-thought through menu with clear prove­nance of the food they are eat­ing.

9. Emerg­ing restau­rant con­cepts: veg-cen­tric, fine-ca­sual

The top trend in gas­tron­omy has long been an in­creas­ingly veg-cen­tric menu and that is set to con­tinue. This is in re­sponse to a pub­lic more aware of an­i­mal wel­fare, the en­vi­ron­ment and the im­por­tance of a bal­anced diet. This also makes sense for chefs who deal with fluc­tu­at­ing food prices and volatile sup­ply lev­els, as Karen Malody FCSI, prin­ci­pal of Culi­nary Op­tions in the US. “A restau­ra­teur who has creative culi­nary skills can shift the menu to plant-based en­trees, sat­isfy cus­tomers in do­ing so, and reap solid mar­gins on their of­fer­ings.” An­other con­cept that is grow­ing is the high-end go­ing ca­sual – top chefs in­clud­ing David Chang in New York City have opened fast food restau­rants that fo­cus on high qual­ity – to­tally in tune with the emerg­ing cus­tomer groups.

10. Food waste to dom­i­nate the head­lines

A heavy fo­cus on food waste in the wider in­dus­try across the world means that this has been a key pri­or­ity in hos­pi­tal­ity in re­cent words. Chef Dan Bar­ber from Stone Barns at Blue Hill in the US cooks ex­clu­sively with food waste in his Wasted con­cept. When we spoke to him last year he said: “Our in­dus­trial food sys­tem is based on this phi­los­o­phy of ex­trac­tion – take more, waste more. It’s al­lowed us to cherry-pick cer­tain cov­eted in­gre­di­ents – say, a pork chop – while dis­card­ing oth­ers. That’s ob­vi­ously not sus­tain­able in the long run. The chal­lenge for the fu­ture is to cre­ate a more holis­tic way of farm­ing and eat­ing, just as tra­di­tional food cul­tures did for hun­dreds of years.”

But as far as sus­tain­abil­ity is con­cerned, ex­pect a much harder fo­cus on the is­sue of plas­tic waste in the near fu­ture. With op­er­a­tors ban­ish­ing plas­tic straws, some like Mcdon­ald’s go­ing even fur­ther by pledg­ing to use only en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ma­te­ri­als by 2025, there have been real devel­op­ments.

This is very much driven by con­sumer de­mand. Cus­tomers un­der­stand the prob­lems around ex­cess plas­tic waste and what it does to our en­vi­ron­ment and they can vote with their feet in a world of a pro­lif­er­a­tion of choice. Michael Jones is ed­i­to­rial di­rec­tor and Tina Nielsen ed­i­tor of FCSI’S Foodservice Con­sul­tant mag­a­zine

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