The food and beverage industry is as susceptible to the whims of fashion and change as any other. Here's a look at five rising trends sweeping the UK and European F&B sectors.
Brexit is having a major impact on business models across numerous industries, and the food and beverage sectors are no exceptions. The imminent changes are likely to see a switch to the more American 'diner' models that embrace counter couture and downplay full table service. This is an effective model from an economic perspective, and it generally requires fewer members of staff to serve more customers. At the same time, it's becoming highly fashionable in the UK and across Europe to open quirky 'counter couture' restaurants.
Never underestimate the thirst for the new and inventive (especially if it's a reinvention of an existing model that's very popular in the States). With the rising costs of both food and labour threatening mid-market, full-service restaurants, don't be surprised if you start to see more restaurants opening 'local' branches based on counter service and fewer staff members, as well as systems depending on tablets and other technology in order to cut costs and staffing requirements.
An uncertain labour market leading to the rise of freelance chefs
The labour market in the UK is currently facing a level of uncertainty that is unprecedented. Recruitment problems and issues with the economy are likely to lead to the government doing everything possible to encourage people to pursue self-employment. Despite the rises in taxes presented by the most recent budget, freelance work is increasingly popular as both a career and lifestyle choice, and it's likely that an increasing number of chefs are going to switch to working on a freelance basis in order to manage the unpredictable nature of the labour market and reap the various benefits and savings available to freelance workers.
Elaborate customisation options
With a growing trend (not to mention medical requirement) for plant-based, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan diets, and a booming home delivery market, restaurants with fixed menus are facing increasing problems. The obvious solution to this is the introduction of more flexible, customisable menus, allowing people the option of enjoying restaurant quality food and a fine dining experience, without being forced to deviate from their preferred (or required) diet or make do with very limited (and sometimes non-existent) options.
The African food scene in London is about to explode, and where London goes, Britain (and to some extent Europe) follows. The exquisite diversity to be found in Africa has been greatly underestimated and underutilised by mainstream food providers. That's about to change. The African popular has spread to virtually every corner of the world, but it's only recently that their delicious food and culinary traditions have begun to enter popular culture. With a rising number of chefs of African descent and a growing desire to explore new and exciting food options, this is one niche in the food industry that could easily rise to stand side by side with the dominant forces of Indian and Chinese cuisine.
Another major trend that's not to be ignored or diminished is the desire among consumers for eco-friendly restaurants that provide sustainable and green products and services. People are paying an increasing amount of attention to the details when it comes to things like table linen, and ensuring you have a sustainable dining experience for your guests without compromising on style, health and safety is a must. Richard Haworth's Signature range is the perfect solution to this requirement, allowing you to fully embrace the green trend with stylish and affordable solutions to your tablecloth and napkin needs, that look great, and are completely sustainable. If you're looking for a more casual look, try the bistro range.