10/31/2016 8:40 AM
Alluserv recently hosted the “Surfing the Waves of Change in your Operation” webinar with consultant Marsha Diamond as the moderator and Editor-in-Chief of Food Management Magazine Becky Schilling as a guest presenter. The webinar shared and informed attendees about food and eating trends that can be incorporated into future menus, and covered overall operational trends and how they could impact food service operations.
What influences trends? The “Surfing the Waves of Change in your Operation” webinar kicked off by discussing trends’ influencers, which included the following:
- 1. Technology
- 2. Staffing
- 3. Training
- 4. Convenience
- 5. Product traceability
- 6. Food transparency
- 7. Health
- 8. Local
- 9. Revenue
- 10. Sustainability
- 11. Generations
- 12. Cultural diversity
Each influencer has impacted the eating and food trends that we have been seeing in 2016. For instance, although it might be expensive to update older technology and require more capital investment to train staff, technology can be incorporated into your daily operations and will ultimately influence the efficiency of your operation. Another great example of a trends’ influencer includes food transparency. People want to know where their food is coming from, if it’s local and what ingredients are on their plates. Food transparency influences the types of food you’ll be purchasing and recipes you’ll be instituting at your operation.
Ensure that you keep in mind trends’ influencers as you make adjustments in your food service operation’s menus, technologies and staffing.
Some of the food trends that were discussed during the webinar included the popularity of:
- 1. Brunch
- 2. Noodles
- 3. Bowls
- 4. Sliders
- 5. Spicy foods
- 6. Dumplings
- 7. Vegetables being used as the center of the plate
- 8. “Ugly” produce being used instead of discarded
But what do these trends mean for your foodservice operation?
Keep in mind the trends’ influencers that were previously discussed while catering to the current food trends. For instance, your operation can use “ugly” produce in a variety of different and creative ways like in soups, salads, purees, smoothies and dressings. This “ugly” produce is also appealing to customers who want something that is healthier and sustainable, which are two trends’ influencers.
Options & Fusion Food
Everyone is craving more and more options from your food service operation. Here are some ways to satisfy your customers:
- 1. Shareable options: provide flexibility and diversity during a meal, similar to tapas and other small portions.
- 2. Fusion foods: examples include steak n’ eggs or the famous “ramen burger.”
- 3. Customization
- 4. Dayparts
Don’t say you can’t offer these options, think about how you can offer a variety of great options. By offering specials as well as a diverse menu that is regularly changing, people will continuously dine with you, which in turn builds loyalty.
Knowing Your Customer
Becky Schilling later gave an excellent peek into the future by using some statistics about college students. For instance, 65% of this demographic wants healthy options, 60% want new foods and flavors, and 74% prefer build-your-own food options.
Sliders were one of the food trends that food service has been seeing this year. Sliders are great because they offer diversity from beef to vegan options, and also appeal to that “fast” food or convenience food mentality that college students want. Different ethnic cuisines can be offered with sliders, which also allows your operation more flexibility and variety while appealing to the college students’ desires for more flavors and new food options.
Use food trends to your advantage at your food service operation because these trends can keep customers coming back continuously.
Becky also discussed a few operational trends that Food Management has been discovering, such as:
- 1. Food service operations replacing national brands with new concepts
- 2. Integrating teaching and the community into food service
- 3. Being conscious to develop programs to combat childhood hunger
- 4. New service ideas
One example of a new service idea is the pizza ATM. That’s right, pizza served to students out of an ATM! This unique way of serving a traditional food keeps students engaged and is a fun way to offer a food item.
Remember to use technology to your advantage, and that diners want a multi-faceted, unique experience. No matter where they are, a diner, cafeteria, student union, retail location, hospital or restaurant, people want unique experiences, which you can create by using technology and interaction.
Now, it’s time for you to get creative in your food service operation!
Written by Alluserv Team