The Next Big Thing

“What’s the next big thing in food Martin? I thought – should I buy a restaurant & be ready for it!”

I’m probably like the local business advisor whom posed this question & then suggested he’d be ready for it. The hospitality business is made up of business owners who devote time to pondering, researching or trying to be at the fore front of the next big thing. Hospitality, catering, tourism, food it’s their business to know this.

I could have answered “the next big thing “in any variety of statements or remarks. How about staying in business, paying the bills, adapting to the current climate, focusing on consumer trends, fixing budget projections to equal the disposable income of customers etc
You need to be a realist in business, grounded in your outlook & feet firmly on the, afore mentioned ground, but this doesn’t mean conforming to banal negativity which can overwhelm any orginisation or country for that matter.

So where is your business looking for the next big thing – conformist & conservative Europe? With its steady as you trade mantra & caution always. Can you widen your horizons? Where are we to look for positivity, innovation & opportunities? The USA has the reputation for positivity & the free market – restaurant & food trends on the radar for 2013 have been identified & are now being rolled out – some of these trends have already been gathering traction.

Breads & greens, more elaborate breads and rolls as restaurants increasingly do in-house baking or purchase from local Artisans. You can ramp up distinctiveness, especially with sandwiches, emphasizing an “artisan” at work. Seaweed is showing up in bread, flavored salt, sprinkled on fries, fish and pasta. Kale chard, turnip greens and mustard greens, rejected only five years ago, are now in vogue
Awesome automation, a cupcake chain, made headlines with its pink 24-hour Cupcake ATM that purportedly sells 1,000 pieces daily to people seeking an after-hours sugar fix.
Bundling gets bigger, Fast food meal bundles are nothing new. In casual dining chains: The objective: fill seats at any cost, and stem the tide of people trading down. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s an opposite strategy at hot upscale independents. Instead of discounting, they’re charging oodles of money! Serving whole animal or whole bird dinners are expanding, triggered by successful nose-to-tail dinners across the country. At Daniel Boulud’s restaurant an entire pig for up to eight people plus a starter, side dishes and baked Alaska. Another Restaurant has a “whole beast” lamb dinner for six to eight. Like many such feasts, it requires 72 hours’ notice. These “dining adventures” are immensely profitable. Chefs know exactly how much to purchase for a pre-ordered table & it adds to a bit of theatre to dinning out.

I’m not advocating we all buy vending machines, but amongst this snap shot of new trends can you adapt these into your plans for 2013. Look across the pond rather than across the road. May be you will come up with next big thing!

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