The time has come to bid farewell to 2018 and welcome the dawning of a new year. With the dawning of anything new comes reminiscing about the “good old days” and discussions around what’s next. In this week’s Table-loids I give you a taste of both of these things with four items you should think about now.
1. How about we take a walk down memory lane?
Let’s begin our quest into the new year with a look back at some of the more valuable hospitality stories from last year. Skift Table brings us a concise and easy-to-read look at these chronicles with their 11 Moments That Mattered in 2018. There are several that stand out to me, but the most influential in my mind is the official launch of the Impossible meatless burger at White Castle in April of 2018. Why was this so important you may ask? Well, one of the biggest food trends of 2018 and one that is sure to be big in 2019 as well is the rise in demand for delicious vegan options in fast-casual to high-end restaurants. After five months the success was so high that White Castle decided to start selling the burger at all of their 377 restaurants. If a meat-focused, fast-food conglomerate like White Castle can have success with a vegan burger it proves that this “trend” isn’t going anywhere in 2019. If you haven’t released a vegan option at your venue, now is the time to do it.
2. It’s 2019, start acting like it
Continuing right into the new year, National Restaurant News recently gave us the top 3 restaurant operation trends for 2019 and I think they carry over into a myriad of restaurant models. To start, NRN projects that to-go and delivery options will be a growing trend in 2019, and because of this, more and more restaurant designers will incorporate separate counters specifically designed to handle carry-out orders. This will help with the traffic flow at venues that currently use host stands and dine-in registers to handle to-go customers. The next trend covered is the turn to a more holistic approach when it comes to employee benefits. It’s about time restaurants begin to see their employees like human beings instead of just numbers. Here’s hoping that this trend brings an influx of restaurant venues offering maternity leave and gym discounts among other creative benefits to support those that support them. Lastly, NRN discusses a trend that I can’t believe took this long to gain speed: Baby changing tables in men’s restrooms. The trend actually started because of a social media post that went viral of a dad who had someone take a picture of him changing his son on his lap while crouching in a bathroom stall. Women aren’t the only ones that change diapers these days. If you offer baby changing stations, offer them for all.
3. New year, new you
The Rail also chimed in with a top 3 list for hospitality in 2019, but this one focuses specifically on the winter months, giving us three things all restaurants should do to prepare for the new season. The suggestion that stood out the most to me was a seasonal menu changeover. Of course, this is less of a trend and more of a must. It’s important for restaurants to constantly think of ways to spruce up a menu, incorporate seasonal items, and keep their guests continuously engaged and excited to come back. This is true for both food and bar menus. Cocktail, beer, and wine lists are an easy place to begin this tradition. Add a winter beer, a bold Barolo, or a Hot Toddy and you’re already halfway there.
4. I’ll have the cricket, please
Eater.com has given us a complete list of Every Single Food Trend Predicted to Take Over 2019, and although the list is extensive there’s one particular trend I just can’t wrap my head around. That trend is the use of insect protein. You read that right folks, INSECT PROTEIN. Because of the continuous rise in food prices, chefs are reaching out for new ideas to keep costs down and they’ve landed on bugs. I guess it makes sense. Bugs are everywhere and there seems to be no shortage or drought in site. In fact, according to Benchmark online, 80% of the earth’s population already consumes insects in some shape or form. Who knows, it may not be long before you’re hearing, “I’ll have the cricket please,” in your restaurant.
Interested in more trends?
Check out Tripleseat’s posts on trends and information for the event industry.