A Look Back: Top Restaurant & Hospitality Industry Trends We Saw in 2016

As we end one year and plan for the next, we believe in taking a look back in order to clearly see our future: for our team, our clients, and our industry.

This year brought us the power of guest appreciation = great business. In this subjective, and albeit crowded, industry we believe that it’s always a smart move to recognize loyal guests. Not only to foster and strengthen relationships, but it can also have a lasting effect on your brand’s longevity – as happy guests will surely return and recommend you to family and friends.

We also saw top restaurant trends, food industry trends, and hospitality trends allowing for some creative, seasonal success in the kitchen. As such, authentic, smoky flavors from wood-fire cooking; global iced coffees infused with elements like sweet condensed or steamed milk, chocolate syrup or ground cinnamon; and innovative flavor combinations like marrying bitters + sours all proved culinary standouts this year.

Here’s A Look Back at some other Top Restaurant & Hospitality Industry Trends We Saw in 2016: 

1) All Day Breakfast. Proved a savvy business decision as we saw this popular trend bring guests into restaurants in droves for these hearty, relatively inexpensive, delicious meals. Did it make sense for everyone? Maybe not as restaurant owners & operators had to weigh demand vs. staying true to their brand identity, but for those eateries where it worked it looks like breakfast is going to be an all-day affair for some time.

2) Owners & Operators: Young Millennials Are Movin’ On Up. What word best describes millennials? We’re going with ‘savvy.’ Yup, this generation doesn’t miss a trick. From social media instant gratification to technological aptitude and a passion for knowledge to a thirst for success, we see millennials willing to do the work to climb the ranks. So, this year we got the calls to work with clients to install Manager in Training programs to not only offer the best industry instruction and service training we could provide, but to also help guide their young team members along the path from restaurant employee to owner & operator.

3) Global Hospitality. The hospitality industry has gone global! As we become a more and more global society, restaurants are best served by having practices in place to welcome guests from around the corner and around the globe. How? Since food plays a huge part in introducing one to a local area, you’re in luck. Position your hospitality platforms to feature food items grown primarily in your area, use any natural allures (i.e. are you by the sea?) to your advantage, and incorporate interesting historical or fun anecdotes to pique interest. Enticing out of towners by tying elements back to your brand is a great way to roll out the proverbial global welcome mat.

4) Back Office Business & Its Challenges. Restaurant and hospitality industry management teams are facing tough times. Concerns over covering rising minimum wage and hence retaining enough staff to run kitchens smoothly; what part (if any) tipping and tipped minimum wage plays; finding a way to offer employees comprehensive health coverage and the like, all prove challenging in today’s business environment. We will see back offices continue to clamber to crunch numbers in order to meet demands while balancing the struggle of taking care of their people with the cost of running a profitable business.

Stay tuned for our 2017 Forecast feature next month. Our round up will offer you the necessary tools to begin planning for and realizing your goals for 2017.