What’s hot right now in hospitality and which trends are ones to watch?

With the doors to The Restaurant Show opening in a matter of days we’ve been delving deeper into our list of exhibitors and speakers to learn more about the hot topics that will be on everyone’s mind at next week’s show.

One of the benefits of paying a visit to The Restaurant Show is the opportunity to sample the best food and drink in the business and being the first to get your hands on the most innovative products on the market. What are you most looking forward to seeing, smelling and tasting at the show? Here are some of the highlights to help you plan your visit.

Learn about liquids in the Bar and Pub zone

With a dedicated bar and pub area at the show and our very own Liquid Hub packed full of inspiring speakers, it’s the perfect place to discover the latest trends in the drinks sector. Whether you are looking to increase your wine knowledge, snap up some spirit advice or capture your share of the non-alcoholic drinks market there is literally a session for everyone in our Liquid Hub.

We’ve also got a huge number of drinks suppliers offering everything from ice-tea to gin to tequila. If it’s equipment you are after then you won’t be disappointed as you will be able to speak to providers of payment systems, kitchen products, interior design, software and so much more.

One of those exhibitors is Bermar and when we asked Lucy Worrall about the trends they have seen this year she told us: “The alcoholic drinks sector has seen an increase of popularity within the consumer’s desire for wine within the past year. In a recent poll by YouGov, 81% of adults have said that wine was their number one choice of drink. On top of that, consumers are becoming savvier on what they want, and more importantly don't want. A premium wine experience is key with 51% of consumers willing to pay extra for a better-quality drink. Also 82% of consumers are wanting to try new/different drinks when out of the home. This is a clear sign that having an interesting and premium wine by the glass offering is essential. The reason by the glass is key is because it makes premium wines and champagnes accessible. This is achieved by using one of Bermar's professional wine and champagne preservation systems, which has the industry-leading Le Verre de Vin technology inside. This technology preserves all wine and champagne for up to 21 days. This means a venue can now offer a wider selection of premium wines by the glass without worrying about pouring wine down the drain and can now focus on increasing profits.”

Diageo are leaders in the global spirits category and in our Liquid Hub the brand ambassadors will be running daily tasting masterclasses on what’s new, on-trend and revealing how to make drinks work within your business.

Promoting provenance

Provenance has been of interest to consumers a lot more over recent years with diners wanting as much information about what they are consuming as possible. This thinking was backed-up by Chris Greenaway, managing director at Surrey Ceramics who commented: “Consumers are caring more and more about where ingredients come from. Although the trend has been steadily growing over the past few years, it’s become more desirable than ever for restaurants to serve locally sourced produce. So much so, it’s reported that more than half of consumers would be willing to pay more for food they believe to have been sourced locally. It’s a trend which is extending past ingredients and into the wider restaurant setting. In fact, many of our customers come to us because we’re a British tableware manufacturer and they see this as a real marketing point.” 

A healthier approach

The heath of the nation is constantly in the news and we are seeing a change in the way many consumers are eating which creates new challenges for the restaurant industry. But why should socialising be at the expense of your health?

Redemption Bar entrepreneurs Catherine Salway and Andrea Waters believe a different way is possible – and they’re proving it at their three buzzing vegan, alcohol-free, sugar-free and wheat-free London locations. Come and spoil yourself (without spoiling yourself) at this amazing zero alcohol cocktails showcase taking place in the Liquid Hub on the Show’s opening day.

What should you be doing to stay ahead of the plant-powered revolution sweeping the nation? To answer this question, we’ve assembled a panel of experts from high street chain development chefs to world-renowned vegan advocates. Don't miss this unique opportunity to get informed and inspired from those at the forefront of this burgeoning movement and discover how to plant-power your business.

Federica Chiriatti from Elisa Food shared the thoughts of this food brand revealing: “When people go to a restaurant they want good quality food that will have a positive impact on their bodies. However, they also want to find unique flavours and refined and beautiful dishes that they are proud to share on social. Chefs need their dishes to be able to achieve all goals. At the show we will be talking about our plant-based bases which can be used for pizzas or bread, to go with salad. The dough is made from about 50% vegetables so less carbohydrates and more healthy substance.”

As diners look to eat less meat and dairy, sales of dairy-free cheese alternatives are booming, but what do they taste like, what are they made from and how do you use them in the kitchen? Join cheese writer Patrick McGuigan in a vegan 'cheese' tasting and talk, with Stuart Mills, Divisional Executive Chef of Young's Pubs, who will explain how he uses the products on his menus.

Sustainability in the spotlight

Given the current interest in alternative proteins, and growing concern for the environment, it’s a good time for chefs to explore the potential of insects as an ingredient. Seb Holmes from Farang London will take to the stage to offer his tips on the flavours and textures that insects can add to a menu. Plus, you can try some insect-based nibbles to excite your taste-buds.

Chris Greenaway from Surrey Ceramics feels that those working in hospitality could be doing more to promote sustainability telling us: “With consumers’ growing concerns on sustainability, it’s important for restaurant owners and chefs to address this in order to remain successful. While many restaurants are taking responsibility and addressing the issue by cutting out waste in the kitchen, it’s an effort that needs to extend into the wider restaurant setting. Restaurant owners and managers must also consider the waste which is being produced front of house. How often are they having to replace drinkware and tableware? At Surrey Ceramics, we pride ourselves on our highly durable and great quality tableware which results in less breakages and therefore lasts longer.” 

Climate change is also regularly in the news, so energy efficient equipment and sustainably sourced products are increasingly important. Energy efficiency is making the headlines in all walks of life, but none more so than the commercial catering industry. 

One exhibitor who has climate change at the heart of its business is Induced Energy and Nic Banner told us: “Energy-efficient equipment is 2019’s fastest selling apparatus, within the commercial catering sector, and as Britain’s only manufacturer of induction technology for the catering industry, Induced Energy are proud to showcase their wide range of manufactured equipment at the show, all of which emit a small carbon footprint. For almost 30 years, Induced Energy has maintained a commitment to developing the world’s leading induction hobs, delivering powerful, controllable, environmentally and work-friendly equipment for chefs. Chefs are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits of induction; they are now asking for it and finding reasons to buy. Choosing induction equipment for catering establishments means cooler kitchens, lower ambient working temperatures, a more efficient kitchen and massive operational expenditure savings.”

Looking to the future

The Restaurant Show doesn’t just showcase what’s happening now, with many of its sessions looking ahead to the future. The MCA Restaurant Market Report 2019 analyses all aspects of the consumer, from how trends towards restaurants are changing to how often specific groups visit restaurants. Join the opening session at the show on Monday 30th September to understand more about your consumers and how you can build a strategy to attract new footfall, as well as driving loyalty.

One of the long-term issues that worries all working in hospitality is attracting and retaining people to work in the industry. We’ve got several stage sessions which will explore this issue and provide tips for management.

There are many benefits to creating a culture of learning within businesses, as employees are more likely to be motivated, have an improved skill set and develop quickly within their roles. It also opens up career paths both within a business and the industry as a whole – something particularly key for a sector facing an ongoing skills shortage. In our ‘Train to Retain’ session, we’ll examine how robust training programmes, such as apprenticeships, can grow the skillset of our industry and ensure a vibrant and thriving future.

Over nine in ten millennials don’t expect to stay in their jobs for the next two years. Fail to engage them, and you risk losing talent. Our ‘Trust the talent’ expert panel explains how to think differently about culture, showcasing approaches from sports and psychotherapy that can help create a hard-working, trusting and happy workforce ready to boost your bottom line.

Bob Cotton OBE has spent a lifetime in the hospitality industry and is a member of P&G Professional’s Expert Advisory Council.  As part of that role he told us: “From the front of house waiting staff to kitchen porters and chefs alike, finding and retaining staff remains a key challenge. With mid-market sector restaurants closing, the pressures of rising costs calls for staff to be more productive and demonstrate their value in the business. Training employees and demonstrating their value will help reduce turnover and improve staff loyalty. What’s more, it will improve productivity through efficient processes. Staff training has a significant impact on customer experiences in the casual dining industry. Interestingly 85% of diners rate cleanliness equal to food quality. Investing in training and providing the right tools to maintain a spotless reputation is paramount in the food service sector. Cleaning staff are often given low priority. The service may be ‘contracted out’ and a degree of control is lost. Worse still, the wrong equipment or cleaning materials are provided and no training on their usage is given. Investment in professional cleaning products helps deliver quality results quickly, efficiently and increase staff productivity. P&G Professional can help streamline cleaning practices to get the job done right the first time.”

We can’t wait to see you all at the show next week. If you are joining us make sure you share your experience on social media by tagging @restaurantshow and using the hashtag #TRS2019.