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Get ready for the new year hospitality professionals!!

There’s a lot to look forward to in the fast-paced and dynamic world of hospitality. We have identified 6 significant trends that are shaping the country’s dining experience. – Its important to ride the wave and stay ahead of your competition!

Trend Number 1 – Core products take the lead

The take-away / fast food concepts will never slow down, especially as our lifestyles are get faster along with our growing population. However, we’ve noticed a run on fast food outlets lifting their game in their food offerings by improving the quality of the menu and food. Yiros and kebab wrap-style foods are on the rise. As are specialised take-away concepts that have a limited yet specific menu model. These offer less choice by focusing on a core product but then adding better quality variations in the menu e.g. takeaways that only cook cheese toasties with many delectable filling choices, or wood-fired pizzas with endless gourmet topping choices, or noodles with every choice of protein.

Trend Number 2 – Veganism is the new black

Veganism is on trend but not as a specific restaurant model. It’s certainly being added to menus in a lot of restaurants and cafes. Google search analytics show that it has been on the rise since 2015!

Trend Number 3 – Cafes gain ground

Coffee is big business. The sale of coffee and new coffee roasting brands doesn’t look like slowing down. It’s a bit like the ongoing growth of boutique beers and micro-breweries – the more there are, the more foodies love it.

Trend Number 4 – Micro food precincts are on the rise

Lane ways are a traditional European concept that is growing. They are becoming the new micro food precincts in Australia’s major cities. Shipping containers are still on the rise to counteract high rents and create an almost instant food hub. Pop ups and food trucks are like shipping containers. They are a small-footprint, low-cost entry into the food industry, and they can move quickly to where the customers are. Some operators will use a pop-up concept to test their unique food offering before scaling to the market.

Clusters of micro food businesses offering dining choice appear to be working. We all love choice so will be drawn to where there are clusters of food choices. Major shopping centres are re-thinking food courts. They recognise that the food precinct model will attract diners who are also shoppers, so they’re investing heavily in the foodie experience and hand-picking tenants that will be successful and fit the overall food concept.

Trend Number 5 – Drive through’s let diners cruise

We are also seeing a spike in food operators actively looking for drive-through sites to complement their (QSR) take-away food offerings. Yet again – increasing convenience to cater to our increasingly busy lifestyles will sell more food e.g. coffee, cafe fare, kebabs. Developers are pushing this trend by including drive-through formats in their development designs.

Trend Number 6 – Table service, what’s that again?

It’s been around for a while, but the use of tablets and smartphones for ordering and service is becoming more affordable and accessible to even the smallest cafes. Waiter’s paper dockets are disappearing. The software links directly to the kitchen, POS and accounting software. It’s fast and efficient. Some restaurants are removing the waiters and getting the diners to order at the table via the tablet. Sushi trains have been doing this for years with success. It will be interesting to see if diners embrace the removal of table service in the restaurant and cafe experience.

Whatever the past or future trends are, the food industry is big business and is growing with no end in sight!