A morning immersing myself in the latest trends in restaurants and casual dining? Doesn’t sound like something I‘d be interested in at all…
The Restaurant Show, an annual showcase of the latest and greatest brands in the world of restaurants and hospitality, rolled into town for three days this week. As ever with such events, the brands on show vying for attention felt endless; I’ve picked a couple of the most interesting innovations that hint at the future of what the restaurant experience could be like (and inspire our food service clients!):
- Data-enhanced hospitality
“Hey Alexa, who is on table 7?”
“On table 7 is Tom. He is a local resident who has been to this restaurant twelve times in the past six months. His average spend is £38.56. He has ordered the avocado main eight out of the last twelve visits. Shall I email him a money off voucher for next time?”
How would you feel if the maître’d in your favourite restaurant was silently being fed data on your spending behaviour? Such is the vision of SevenRooms, an impressive data business that enables hospitality staff to deliver more personalised interactions by connecting customer data to Alexa. Through an earpiece, staff can call up useful information about customers, helping them service them better, and engage with them more effectively long after they have left the restaurants. Is this useful, or creepy? It’s certainly cool…
- Sustainable hydration
Premium water brand Purezza are showcasing a sustainable solution to the challenge of serving chilled still and sparkling water in restaurants. Rather than buy in water (that’s probably travelled a fair bit), why not install their purification system in your restaurant, and bottle your own from the tap? Although the back of house process isn’t new, the interesting kicker are their branded bottles; they look great and feel premium. It certainly doesn’t look like you’re drinking purified tap water (even if you really are).
- Vegan gets filthy
The vegan trend continues and Biff’s Kitchen are leading the charge. Their philosophy that “it’s time to get filthy with vegan” translate to a range of delicious jackfruit burgers and jackfruit “wingz” with sugarcane bone. Vegan food that appeals to carnivores? Biff’s Kitchen are hitting the spot, so get ready for the filthy vegan trend to continue to pop up on menus over the next year.
- A solution for allergen sufferers?
With the recent Pret allergy scandal shining a light on allergen information, there are lots of interesting tech solutions emerging to make information more useful and accessible. One solution I came across that felt particularly exciting was And It Has. And It Has is an app and QR code solution; put a QR code stick prominently in your restaurant, ask customers who are interested in allergens to scan the code, and up pops that restaurant’s complete menu, with all ingredients and allergens clearly flagged. In the app you can also submit your allergen sensitivities, so immediately you can see the parts of the menu you can eat.