2018's Food, Beverage and Hospitality Trends

FOOD AND HOSPITALITY TRENDS FOR 2018

Make Better Decisions For Your Business’s Future

With the end of 2017 wrapping up, it's time to start looking forward at the year ahead of us. At Future Food, we travel the world to research and analyse the way in which food and beverage, hospitality and retail-dining precincts are transforming to enable us to better deliver exceptional, innovative projects that work for today's customer and into the future. With 2018 at our doorstep, we've collated a year's worth of insights to inform our top ten trends for next year focussing on the business of food for operators, developers and precinct managers alike. Francis Loughran, founder and managing director of Future Food, foresees more beautiful cafes and restaurants in our malls and high streets as operators move beyond just food and focus on design-driven spaces and genuine customer service. 

 2018 is all about better experiences.
— Francis Loughran

1. Healthy Options Will Continue to Grow

2017 was a big year for health food trends including more vegan restaurants, the rise of the poke bowl, paddock-to-plate concepts and transparency in where food has come from. This move towards more healthy and wholesome food will continue into 2018 and beyond with consumers becoming more aware, educated and conscious about what they are eating.

Poke Me in South Yarra, Melbourne - photo by Peach Water

2. Food Delivery Services Will Continue to Adopt Customers

This year, food delivery services were worth $43 billion in the US alone and this figure is only expected to grow. Customers are enjoying eating in the comfort of their own home and as more operators adopt online delivery services into their service, the more variety there is for the customer to enjoy. One issue operators will need to be considerate of is the space required to manage deliveries and how to ensure it will not interfere with the customers who come into the restaurant for an experience that does not include tens of delivery people rocking up in helmets asking for orders.

3. Foodie Events Will Thrive

With more people investing in experiences over material goods, consumers of today are paying to be enticed, delighted and taken on a journey making food events a big hit for 2018. Whether it’s pop-ups, themed events (i.e. Unicorn Food Festival, Espresso Martini Festival) or month-long food and wine events, having the ability to provide activation spaces as well as incorporate foodie events into your business calendar will allow your centre, precinct or food and beverage business to capitalise on the growing desire to experience food.

4. Cafes Will Go All Day Long  

The Millennials and generations younger than them love snacking, removing the traditional dayparts and blurring the lines of when you should eat what. As these age groups take centre stage as our biggest spenders, 2018 will see cafes losing the set ‘breakfast-lunch’ menu structure and moving towards a more fluid ‘all day’ menu that allows customers to eat big or small, at any time time of day.

5. Excellent Service Creates an Excellent Experience

Staff quality and training continues to be a major problem for the hospitality industry and this will continue into 2018 with improving customer service being key to creating successful hospitality businesses. Gold standard service is essential to providing an exceptional food and beverage service across any business type including quick service, cafes and full-service restaurants as well as in precincts with many retail centres adopting concierge-style service to ensure customers feel accommodated and promote return visitations.

6. Going Cashless

Opening a food and beverage outlet in 2018? You’ll want to make sure you have all the integrations included that allow your customers to purchase from you without having any cash on them at all. People are going cashless and 2018 will see more technology developments like Apple Pay arising that make purchasing more seamless than ever. This includes giving customers the ability to pre-purchase food and drinks so the customer can arrive and only have to pick up their food at a time determined convenient for them.

7. Don’t Make Them Wait! Reservations are Back

2018’s customers are reverting back to the traditional idea of reservations but they want to be able to make those reservations non-traditionally and that is booking online. Dimmi, an online booking service, has just launched a Google plugin which allows customers to book from search pages making reservations even more accessible. With Google also launching insights into wait times and peak visiting periods for restaurants, cafes and other food outlet types via their search pages, customers will be gaining more control on when they visit and for how long they wait for in 2018.

8. Drive Business with Design

A food experience is not just about the food we put in our mouths but also about how we felt, what we smelt and what we saw making placemaking a stand out to creating a food and beverage business that has a point-of-difference. As the food and beverage industry has grown exponentially, there are thousands of businesses out there competing for consumer dollars. Point of difference (POD) will be key in winning that competition in 2018 and beautiful design is a successful tool for creating that difference. Creating a memorable space evokes an emotional response and attachment from customers that will have them talking about your business, referring friends and family as well as coming back for more.

The beautifully designed Abacus Bar & Kitchen in Prahran - photo by Rebecca Michael for Herald Sun

9. Sustainability is a Responsibility

Conscious customers and educated operators know that sustainability cannot be ignored and is a social responsibility to uphold. 2018 will see more measures introduced for creating sustainability in the hospitality industry whether it be better recycling systems, more businesses adopting reusable containers, banning the bag completely and sourcing ingredients from local producers and providers to minimise the carbon footprint. Ensuring your business is equipped to execute the highest sustainability standards works for both the environment and your business with sustainability being a major drawcard for Millennials, Gen Y and Gen Z alike.

10. Women in Food

Females in Food, Women in Hospitality, Fully Booked Women are all putting the spotlight on women in the industry with events, articles, networking groups and more being organised to promote the influential women making moves in what has been, a largely male-dominated industry. 2018 will continue this trend with more women showing themselves as the leaders in their field, creating, running businesses and supporting others to achieve success.

Ana Ros, 2017's Best Female Chef from Slovenia - image by Mike Burton for Adelaide Now


What food, beverage and hospitality trends do you see emerging in 2018?