2021 Dining Trends


2021 Dining Trends

2021 Dining Trends

What are the major upcoming dining trends, post-lockdown? We’ve highlighted predictions for food & beverage and hospitality trends from Wunderman Thompson Intelligence's report The Future 100: 2021. You can access it in full here.

Creative social distancing

Dining domes have become increasingly popular, providing a loophole for operators to serve guests ‘outside’. “Cocooning, self-contained pods, venues that make the most of outside spaces and expansive, yet welcoming shared public areas are among the features that could characterise hospitality design in the covid-19 era”, states the WTI report.

Heated pods and domes are are an expensive investment for operators, however, there are potentially both short and long term advantages to this setup. In the short term, outdoor dining will be the first area of hospitality to see restrictions easing, whereas consumer demand will be extremely high. In the long term, heated outdoor areas will help maximise venue space throughout the colder seasons, and can also be marketed as a 'luxury dining experience' to drive bookings.

Adventure dining

Replacing destination dining (where people will travel miles to eat somewhere unique) is adventure dining. Diners are seeking unforgettable experiences, where excellent food is paired with fantastically unique settings. Adventure dining is merging the concepts of eating out and taking part in an event; it's quite exclusive in nature and therefore usually marketed at a premium price.

Last year, Michelin-starred Budapest restaurant, Costes took dining to new heights by offering 4 course meals from the Budapest Eye Ferris wheel, where up to 4 guests enjoyed views of the city from their self-contained cabin. Another example comes from Luxury Parisian hotel, Les Bains who drained and repurposed its 1885 underground swimming pool to create a unique private dining room.

Climate friendly food

According to YouGov, one in five people are changing their diet to support climate change. Some operators now provide calorie counts against their dishes – could a climate emission count make its way onto menus? Last year, our clients Chipotle launched a sustainability impact tracker to help guests analyse the sustainability of their lunch. The Real Foodprint tracker measures carbon emissions and gallons of water saved per meal.

In November 2020, an alliance of health professionals called for climate tax to be imposed on food with a heavy environmental impact by 2025. With 15% of the population predicted to be vegan by 2025, there is no doubt that food eco-consciousness is something consumers will support in increasing numbers.

In flight, at home

Plane food - once the source material for stand up comedians and a low point of air travel, has come a long way. In October last year, Singapore Airlines hosted a pop-up restaurant on board two Airbus A380s parked at Changi Airport. Demand was so high that tickets (ranging from first class to economy) sold out in 30 minutes! Dining in an airplane on the ground could be considered a novelty experience but in Finland, guests are even heading to their local supermarket to pick up ‘Taste of Finnair’, business-class meals.

Ghost kitchens

Not a new trend but with the increasing popularity of ghost (or dark) kitchens, thanks to the rise of takeaway and delivery during the pandemic, they are set to become ever bigger. With less dining space required for the foreseeable, operators might be wise to invest in more kitchen space and work with third party delivery companies to try to bridge the gap in sales.

Breakfast boom

"Breakfast is becoming more of an event" according to Bianca Bridges in Breakfast London. Egg consumption at breakfast has seen a rise of 68% compared to the previous year. With many people now working from home, and children off school, families are taking time over a traditional cooked breakfast and have said goodbye to a quick bowl of cereal or pastry on commute. We expect to see operators getting more creative with their breakfast menus as a result.

New players in the delivery market

The delivery market is booming, and growth isn't ceasing, which means it's a very attractive market for new players looking to change the game.

One of the newcomers is FoodPenny, a takeaway comparison app, launched last year. Rather than comparing restaurants via reviews and ratings such as you would see on the likes of Just Eat, customers select their favourite cuisine and food items first and then compare and order in one go. The app pulls a list of comparisons such as price, distance, food hygiene rating, customer popularity and approximate wait time.

New entrants will give both consumers and food providers more options and flexibility so it's worth keeping a close eye on this market.

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