The Datamonitor Group is a leading provider of global business information. Recently it has released an insightful report on major trends emerging in the foodservice sector.
Many of these trends ring true for New Zealand. Here we present part 1 of highlights from the report. Part 2 will be in next month’s magazine
Offering smaller dishes.
Serving dishes as tapas or small plates allows customers to experiment with different flavours.
In its worldwide survey, the Datamonitor Group found that 66 per cent of customers of all ages say they enjoy sampling different foods.
Tapas or small plates appeal especially to the more indecisive customers who hate to think they might be missing out, and love the idea of not having to commit to a full main.
By encouraging customers to share, the tapas format helps bring family and friends together; the survey found that 66 per cent of consumers worldwide are now making more effort to socialise with loved ones than prior to the recession in 2009.
Tapas allow more focus on the quality of the food, rather than the quantity – and 72 per cent of consumers worldwide put a high priority on quality during their moments of luxury in restaurants.
In New Zealand, the golden rule appears to be to avoid the term “tapas”, unless you have a Spanish restaurant. Rather, use the term “Small Plates”. That way, you are not implying you only serve Spanish food, and you can extend the tapas idea to many other cuisine styles, both European and Asian.
In Wellington, Hummingbird Bar has operated in Courtenay Place with a cross-cultural, multiple Small Plate format (offering a few Large Plates as well) for twelve years now, showing just how successful the concept can be.
Focus on nature/ environment – marketing provenance
Restaurants are increasingly educating consumers about the origins of the food they eat, promoting local and seasonal produce. This is because consumers believe local food to be fresh, natural and tasty.
This education process may take the form of listing the producer for each of the more important components on your menu (e.g. Kapiti for cheese or ice cream) as is the case with the newly opened Artisan restaurant in the Bolton Hotel in Wellington.
The Datamonitor survey found 72 per cent of consumers take a more favourable view of food and drinks if they are convinced the groceries are fresh.
56 percent of consumers, (particularly older people) say it is important to buy locally produced groceries, while 53 per cent say provenance can give products a more luxurious positioning.
Closely allied to this trend in New Zealand is the move towards restaurant kitchen gardens.
Riverstone Kitchen near Oamaru is fully self-sufficient in herbs, vegetables, cherries, apples and free range eggs, and part of the experience there is to wander around the gardens before lunch.
The luxury Otahuna Lodge near Christchurch has a walled kitchen garden, a mushroom house and an orchard, while Awaroa Lodge in Abel Tasman National Park has turned its organic garden into a form of entertainment for guests, with sculptures made from recycled materials and decorative paths made of used glass.
On Waiheke Island, the customer walks from the carpark to Poderi Crisci Italian restaurant via the kitchen garden, full of tomatoes, artichokes and other Mediterranean vegetables, while even central city restaurants such as Wellington’s Zibibbo have planted rooftop herb gardens.
You may already be incorporating many of the directions discovered in the report. If not, hopefully we have presented a few thought starters for you. And there’s more to come
Next week we conclude with part 2 of Global Hospitality Trends
Don’t miss it.