The importance of consistency when embracing emerging trends
By Troy Clarke Food & Beverage Director, Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston | October 30, 2011
It's an exciting time to be working in food and beverage. There are many trends that vary from food trucks, sourcing local products and providing an extreme dining experience with molecular chemistry. With all this excitement and opportunity to wow and lure new consumers into your outlets, it's important to step back and understand the DNA of your outlets on an individual basis. Trying to be all things to all people is a quick way to blur lines and lose quality and consistency of your outlet.
For example, if you don't have a nuclear chemist on your payroll then perhaps molecular chemistry is not the right fit, or if you are in a remote location, then the 100 mile rule can't and shouldn't apply. What is of utmost importance is to check the emerging trends against the DNA of your restaurant. If it's not a match, don't try and fit a square peg into a round hole, and certainly don't worry about what others are doing. Instead have a firm understanding of your DNA, customer expectations and from there develop and standby the concept that will work with the philosophy for your restaurant.
The literal meaning of DNA is the combination of features that make something what it is. For industry professionals, this entails having a clearly defined concept and service style, consumer profile, understanding what their expectations are, meeting those expectations by providing a consistent price point, experience, and food style. Once these factors are defined, they must be kept top of mind and not written down and put in a binder and forgotten. Because when emerging trends arise, you must remember the aforementioned before making changes, enhancements or running promotions.
If you stray from who you are, then the consumer doesn't know what to expect and may not come back as a result. When contemplating adopting industry trends, you need to consider if it will make your job easier, how will you incorporate it into your overall marketing strategy and what will it do for the guest experience. Once these items are taken into consideration, it will be easier for your team to promote and introduce such trends that might not yet be understood or even accepted by the general public.
Another exhilarating aspect of the industry is that there are some skilled chefs out there catalyzing creative ideas so that there are always new trends underway. In my opinion, one of the finest trends evolving over the next few years is the importance of developing deeper relationships with farmers. This is important for many reasons. For one, customers are now more conscious of knowing where there food came from, how it gets to the plate and how their menu choice may affect the environment.
And maybe, more importantly, by developing a connection with local farmers and buying organic and/or locally grown products and produce, you are supporting your community agriculture. The thirst for knowledge around food and beverage continues to grow creating a much smarter and savvy consumer. This will challenge operators to be ever more creative and push the barriers with new ideas. At our restaurant and outlets we have been working closely with both local farmers and local businesses to create menu items that support our local community.
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