Food and Beverage Trends: What Works and Is Sustaining?
Do Your Research, Scan Your Memories
By Robert O'Halloran Professor & Director, Hospitality Management, East Carolina University | December 2023
Food and beverage are a key sector in the hospitality arena, and lodging operators must identify what guests expect with regard to food and beverage, innovation, high quality, efficiency and great product choices.
Historically, lodging restaurants were positioned at the top of fine dining.
Also, back in the day, to become a lodging general manager, the expectation was that the general manager had a strong food and beverage background. Today, much of the lodging industry focuses on rooms revenue and meetings and events. Food and beverage expertise has shifted from fine dining and bistros to take-away, catering and other channels.
Chef Joan Roca stated that values such as hospitality, authenticity, generosity, commitment to excellence, eagerness to learn and the value of effort will always be valid in gastronomy. "At the end of the day, the success of a restaurant is judged by the indelible memories that we've created for our guests." 2023 is thought to be the year of new opportunities for the food industry as inflation-driven behaviors are offset by heightened interest in food as medicine, sustainability, new food technologies, and a demand for more exciting everyday fare.
The focus of food and beverage has evolved in all sectors including fine dining, quick service, contract food service, casual dining etc. and lodging food service. During the pandemic, food and beverage operations pivoted, became flexible and eventually evolved to be more innovative and unique. The food and beverage sector changed food products, cooking methods and techniques, created new products, provided service alternatives and more. The question is which of these new products and techniques is sustainable and will remain part of a restaurant's offerings.
The hospitality industry is back, and new products abound. Some argue that guest's attitudes toward food have also shifted to health awareness, i.e. "Looking to a healthy lifestyle is vital to a work-life balance and overall happiness." Chefs, food and beverage and culinary leaders are focused on the future of food.