The Top Foodservice Trends to Watch for In 2017
By Dwayne Reno
We start off the year as we have previously with our list of the top foodservice trends to watch for.
Food Trend: Is the general direction in which ideas surrounding food are developing or changing.
Some trends are here to stay, while others are here for a moment.
The BBA team has carefully reviewed our online foodservice e-News submissions from 2016. These submissions are taking from foodservice operators and other foodservice businesses. Here are the top foodservice trends to watch for in 2017.
Healthy Eating Taking Center Stage
It’s no surprise that nutrient dense foods will continue to be front and center in 2017. We have done many blog entries as to why this is not a trend and more so a change in consumer mind set and behavior. What is a surprise however is the speed at which big food has chosen to assimilate the concept of healthy eating into their branding. Food manufactures like Kelloggs, Nabisco and many others where among the exhibitors at an annual dietitian’s conference held in 2016. Their attendance was to help convince consumers that their products can be a healthy snack or part of a healthy lifestyle, HERE.
Recently McDonalds Canada CEO John Betts gave an interview where he said "I will tell you straight out that the reputation we have for food is absolutely unfair, unrealistic and a total ... fill in the blank."
The McDonalds Canada CEO says that the company has been trying to fight the junk food image he feels they have been falsely labeled with, HERE.
Fast Food on the Rise
Fast food chains did very well in 2016. A report by research firm IBISWorld stated that the U.S. fast food industry is expected to earn revenues of $227.5 billion in 2016, HERE. This recent success has led many fast food brands to expand into new markets. Earlier in 2016, Restaurant Brands International Inc. the parent company of Tim Hortons announced that Canada’s favourite cup of coffee will soon be available in Great Britain and the Philippines.
Also at the end of 2016, Jollibee, a popular fast food chain in the Philippines entered the Canadian market, HERE. 10 days before Christmas the fast food brand opened their first brick and mortar location in Winnipeg, to the delight of the local Pilipino community.
The resent success of other fast food chains in Canada has charged up Burger King Canada's president Eric Hirschhorn who stated "we as a company are now ready to take advantage of (and) to fulfil the potential of what Canada could be for our business," HERE.
While things are looking up for the chain operators who seem to be flourishing the same cannot be said about independents. A report by the NDP Group stated that the number of independent restaurants has declined by 3 per cent since 2015, HERE. The reason for this is simple, the state of the foodservice industry over the last few years. Many independents are finding it hard to compete with high rent and foods costs cutting into already small margins. While these current market conditions are leading to a decline in independents the report also stated that chain operators have increase by 1 per cent under current market conditions.
It is a fact that Canadians generate 31 billion dollars of food waste per year and 9 per cent of that comes from restaurants and hotels, HERE.
As rising food prices continue to weigh heavy on the foodservice industry operators will have to employ not so new food preservation methods. Many operators already pride themselves on not letting any part of an animal or vegetable for that matter go to waste. This practice will see a strong resurgence in 2017 as foodservice operators reduce food waste to help increase margins.
Restaurant Tech Where No Restaurant has Gone Before
Restaurant tech is literally changing the face of the foodservice industry. Over the past few years foodservice operators have come under pressure from government plans to increase the minimum wage. However instead of higher wages we are seeing an increase in customer facing technologies such as self-serve kiosks and mobile pay apps, HERE.
Mobile payment apps are becoming very popular with the fast food industry, HERE. Starbucks launched their mobile pay app in 2015 now about 25 per cent of Starbuck’s customers use the mobile app to pay for their orders. The Wall Street Journal even released an article starting that Starbucks now has more customer’s money stored on their app than some banks have deposits, HERE.
Meal and a Show
With competition on the rise many independents are working hard to differentiate themselves from the large chain operators. Live events, popup restaurants, theme restaurants and open kitchen concepts are just a few of the ways independents are fight back. A meal and a show has long been a food industry staple, 2017 will be no different as independents continue to take it to the next level.
In 2016 an article released by Mintel stated that “73 per cent of Canadian consumers like to experience other cultures through food, while nearly three in five are more open to trying ethnic foods now than they were a few years ago”, HERE. Technomic also listed ethnic food and drink at #2 on their Canadian 2016 Trends Infographic, HERE. Canadian foodservice operators can turn this niche into a great opportunity since ethnic food can be a bit challenging to prepare at home. Also Canada has a thriving multicultural population which is helping to fuel this trend in cities like Toronto and Vancouver.
Tip or not to Tip
The debate around the minimum wage has also stirred up the debate over tipping. Earlier in 2016 the Angus Reid Institute, a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research organization released a study stating that “6 in 10 Canadians who prefer ‘service included’ pricing say that they tipped more do to social pressure,” HERE.
Also an Earl’s restaurant location in Calgary made the big leap into service included pricing. Service included pricing is not common in Canada, but has become very popular with many U.S. operators, HERE. The debate over service included or tip based on service is expected to continue well into 2017 as debate over wage increases continue, HERE.
Until next time your customers want to know why they should spend money at your restaurant, bar or cafe. So give them the goods!
Dwayne Reno CEO & Founder
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