Foodservice expert Simon Stenning has provided hospitality leaders with an overview of the current state of the market, as well as a number of key foodservice trends to keep an eye on in the coming decade.
Stenning, a leading hospitality market analyst, spoke at the Hotel Leadership Conference at London’s Hilton Bankside recently.
On top of his consumer picks – which included the use of banana blossom as an alternative to fish, an increased authenticity in the cooking of Asian broths and Asian food generally, and a growing awareness of prebiotics – he went in-depth on his five commercial foodservice trends for the industry by 2030.
1. Social refueling
“Social refuelling’ is about the fact now that we can engage with a restaurant purely through the use of technology. GBK is a perfect example.
“You can have no engagement with staff whatsoever. It is polite to say ‘Thank you’ when someone brings your food, but once you finish, off you go without having to say a word.”
While technology will play an increasing role in the dining experience, Mr Stenning believes that it belongs more in the kitchen.
“The human touch is necessary,” he said, referring to the fact that some people like to be served by a person.
2. Robot chefs
Instead, Mr Stenning refers to successful trials of kitchen-based tech such as Flippy, a burger-flipping robot that was installed in a Caliburger LA restaurant in May 2018.
These “manual, repetitive, menial tasks”, he said, are ideal for robots to take over.
“What I think this is going to create,” Mr Stenning concluded, “is a polarised world for our industry, where technology plays a role in one part; and then our skill, our craft, our artisanship will play another, where consumers are willing to pay for it.”
3. Resurrecting the pub
The Great British pub has, in response to economic conditions, largely been replaced by a more diversified institution – part-pub, part-family restaurant.
Mr Stenning commented: “Pubs have been shutting at a rate of knots over the past 12 years, but that’s about to change. I’m predicting an absolute growth in the number of pubs in the next 10 years.”
Mr Stenning forecasted that the pub will further diversify, including the addition of boutique hotel-style rooms to many, as well as more in-pub brewery experiences.
— Simon Stenning (@Stennins) January 13, 2020
Mr Stenning said: “Yes, we are going to be eating less meat, but we’re not all turning vegan. We will instead become ‘conscious reduce-atarians’.”
This, Mr Stenning believes, does not even necessarily mean always eating less meat, but eating the right meat.
“The trend of ‘chicken-isation’ has grown because it is recognised as being healthier and far better from an environmental perspective.
5. Emergent cuisines and foods
Despite this, Mr Stenning said: “Much more different fruits and veggies, different seeds, different grains, tempeh, sorghum, all of these will give us a new and different range of foods.”
Mr Stenning then addressed what he sees as a misconception – that we have discovered all the cuisines that are out there.
“There will be more emergent cuisines,” he said. “Current fads for Ethiopian or West African, Filipina, we will see more of those, we’ll want more of them. But most importantly, we will want more authenticity.”