2017 was a year of conflict, uncertainty and a whole lot of people dressing up like unicorns. But that’s over and done with. 2018 is expected to bring big changes for our world, our industry and the food we plate on the table. What’s to come the next time you’re out dining for the new year that may surprise you? Here’s a tasting menu of 2018 foodie trends that we didn’t see coming – but we’re pretty excited to experience:
The Year of the Llama. 2016 was the year of the mermaid and 2017 was the year of the unicorn. These mythical creature trends that took over our Instagram feeds cascaded in fashion, makeup and even the food we ate – remember those infamous unicorn drinks from Starbucks? Our bet for crossover creature of choice for 2018 is the llama. No mythical beasts for us: we love these South American camels known for cute faces and cuddly fur – for their dual real-yet-whimsical natures and, let’s face it, awesome don’t-care-hair. As we slowly start to to see these animals creep into our clothing choices, we urge all restaurateurs to brainstorm unique ways to incorporate llamas into their marketing materials and decor. Who knows? A super fuzzy mug holder with a llama decal for your warm cup of coffee may be the surprise runaway hit that counterbalances 2018’s Arctic intro!
Authentic Ethnic Cuisine. If you still think of Mexican and Italian as ethnic meals, you are way out of the loop. These are now considered mainstream in the US, with foodies gravitating more toward spices from global markets that are quickly on the rise, such as Thai and Ethiopian. When people go out to eat in a new place – even if they’re there for work – they want an experience that they don’t usually have and they want to learn more about cultures that are the backbone of their place of travel. Next time you’re treating a client out to dinner, consider taking them to one of the local indies from Dinova that offer some unique flare.
Sharing. When you’re out with a big group of co-workers, it’s likely that all of you are trying each others’ entrees or you’re planning to order a large variety of appetizers. Family-style dining experiences are expected to grow in popularity in 2018 because it creates a more entertaining experience for the foodies at the table. This is good news for restaurateurs, who can expect 2-3 extra dishes than usual to be ordered when meals are being shared.
Tech-Savvy Dining. From fast delivery options to self-service stations, everyone wants a dining experience that is as easy and efficient as snapping a selfie. This means paying for a meal without the presence of a server, EMV payments that are the norm in Europe and Canada, and delivery options that give diners the ability to take care of their whole transaction on their phones. Smart tech is going to be a hit for the restaurateur as well as the diner. Sensors that gather data on food consumption and traffic will be game changers for the industry.
Food Going Goth. Black-dyed food started making waves back in 2016 thanks to Burger King, and it’s now expected that this aesthetic phenomenon is going to make a comeback and surpass rainbow-colored food. We’re not too sure about this, as we feel like we’ve heard about this for a long time now. In the end it will all depend on what pictures people upload from their phones.
Eatertainment. Modern day foodies don’t want to go to a restaurant just to eat. They crave a one-stop shop for premium meals, fun activities and a chance to connect. From large scale themes like a Topgolf to simpler add-ons such as board games at the table, incorporating entertainment with eating can be a huge hit with your clients and co-workers.
What did you think of our list? Did any of these surprise you? Let us know in the comments below!