Kimberley Holder 04 May 2017

At Speed, the Food & Hospitality team believes that great creative thinking and industry knowledge comes from observation and strategic networking. I was recently fortunate enough to attend the 30th anniversary National Restaurateurs’ Dinner and it left me thinking how dining habits have changed over the past 30 years – and how that’s affected the way we communicate about what and where we eat.

Three key trends we’re watching closely are:

Automation Nation

To balance the cost of overheads and increasing competition from at-home dining, restaurants and hotels are honing-in on the convenience and efficiency benefits they can offer to consumers, whether it be through kiosk-only outlets, chatbots that facilitate online reservations or drones that can deliver frozen yogurt to your doorstep.

One company doing this particularly well is Supper in London which combines restaurant-quality dining with the convenience of eating at home.

Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle

Chefs are tackling food waste head on. Much like the nose-to-tail approach taken with meat, they are looking at innovative ways to maximise the whole vegetable and how they can get creative with space to grow their own ingredients.

The recent WastED pop-up on the roof at Selfridges was a fantastic example of how restaurants can re-imagine by-products and create a menu of waste-based dishes.

The Experience Dichotomy

Driven by a sense of exploration or simply FOMO (fear of missing out), Brits today are on the hunt for new experiences. In turn, restaurants are offering novel, fun and memorable meals through pop-ups, entertainment-themed venues and “secret” offerings. It’s all about connecting with the Insta-everything generation. After all, according to research by Waitrose, one in five of us has shared a food photo in the last month.

To see this trend brought to life, check out the Edible Cinema and experience your favourite movies like never before!

Food for thought

The fast-paced nature of evolving food trends presents businesses with communication challenges and opportunities. Operators need to be open to the idea of consumer-centric trading, to constantly look for ways to innovate and to engage openly and honestly with their customers.

To do this to great effect, three things we would advise are:

+ Social listening and creative hijacking. Getting mindshare by being opportunistic with causes your customers care about will ensure your business is always front of mind, stands out from the competition and benefits from consumer brand loyalty. Think personalisation and originality.

+ Story sharing. Look for opportunities to partner with like-minded organisations to co-create a value proposition which will resonate with your consumers and take them on a journey with you.

+ Stop spinning. Don’t think of PR as a way to de-risk activity or put a positive spin on something. It’s our role to guide brands to do the right thing from the outset. At Speed, we’re all about being future-forward and ensuring our clients establish a proposition which is true to them and their customers. It’s what the authenticity movement is all about – so embrace it!