The future of commercial cookery and hospitality
Hospitality and commercial cookery remain at the top of the national Skills Need List, reinforcing their importance to both the industry itself and the broader economy. This means we need talent in this space, but what should be expected of said talent? What trends are redefining their skill sets and your needs?
To save you the time, we’ve broken down what’s coming in the cookery and hospitality spaces and how they are influencing consumers.
The Broad Statistics
Before we dive deep into the trends, let's consider the top level statistics as collated by the experts at IBISWorld.
Current Revenue: $13.5bn
Projected Annual Growth (2017-22): 1.6% pa
Biggest Driver: Cooking programs increasing interest in eating out.
Cafes and Coffee Shops
Current Revenue: $5.5bn
Projected Annual Growth (2017-22): 2.4% pa
Biggest Driver: A growing love coffee and particularly specialty coffee is drawing more and more Australians away from instant alternatives.
Fast Food Services
Current Revenue: $19.3bn
Projected Annual Growth (2017-22): 1.5% pa
Biggest Driver: Demand for premium products and healthier options are increasing potential revenue.
Pubs, Bars and Nightclub
Current Revenue: $17bn
Projected Annual Growth (2017-22): 1.3% pa
Biggest Driver: Increased interest in smaller, niche venues.
Now that we have the broader financials covered, let's consider the specific food trends redefining service, demand and revenue.
A recent panel hosted by Unilever Food Solutions stated that kitchen workers need to adapt to shifting turnaround times and customer demands in the most surprising of ways i.e. convenience products (prepared stocks, boosters and ready-made condiments). This goes beyond the growing love of glamourised guilt foods (see gourmet mac and cheese). This is about serving foods that are both fresh and fad-centric to people who are poor in time, but rich in standards. Consider those venues that can now serve packaged cereal as a fun option or the increased demand for mac and cheese brought on by the American food trend.
Let's talk about the Noma Effect. A food revolution started by lauded Nordic chef Rene Redzepi hit our shores in recent times due to his appearances on a number of key cooking shows and his own Sydney based pop-up. From a commercial standpoint, his focus on 100% local, organic and unique flavours is considered game-changing and is fast becoming the new go to ideology for any food scene looking to become more sustainable and engaging. The meats, vegetables, spices and herbs you source are no longer strictly defined by an old standard of 'beauty' and 'crispness' - if you can sell the locality and freshness of the produce, the consumers will accept and consume. And while a number of the more distinctly Australian flavours needed are in limited supply, demand from business owners such as yourself could create the necessary shift needed to get such items in adequate volumes.
New “Old” Techniques
In stark contrast to the convenience food logic mentioned earlier, there is an increased focus on back to basics food for the sake of health – something that goes beyond Paleo (a trend that is in itself already fading). People are getting back into the slow fermented foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, sourdough, kombucha) that were the norm in decades and centuries past. This requires the learning of ‘artisanal’ techniques, and a greater understanding of fermentation in terms of how it impacts freshness, production times and service.
If you’ve seen the movie Chef, any of the recent seasons of Master Chef Australia, or simply checked out a food blog or two, you’ve more than likely heard about the food truck trend. A long-time norm in the US, this new way of sharing trending food options is taking over one Australian capital after another. The focus is very much adaptability in terms of what is delivered and convenience in how it is served. This also allows you to be where the action is, with many food trucks aligning themselves with sporting events and festivals.
As stated by Hospitality Magazine, technology is shifting the industry in interesting new directions. Social media, marketing automation, EPOS, online booking systems and digital menus are just some of the newer technologies creeping their way into an increasing number of eateries – this makes tech familiarity a must for all members of staff. There are also new home delivery services connecting time poor customers with the restaurants they love – this includes Delivery Hero and UberEats. This all equates to varied service expectations, which are still very much focused on comfort, convenience and class regardless of the technology or level of human interaction involved. By the same token, this also increases your competition - regardless of whether you are in fast food or standard restaurant service. Consider how you can best compete when consumers have increased options at their fingertips.
“Our mission is to ensure nobody has a bad meal” is the selling premise of leading restaurant rating app Zomato (replacement for Urbanspoon). This app allows people to discover restaurants, write reviews, share photos and more – all for the sake of sharing their love of food with the world. Combine this with the food sharing habits on longstanding apps such as Instagram, and the booming trade of blogs like Urban List, spreading the word about your eatery has changed from the old days. Be aware of social and learn to play the game or your customers will more than happily bite the hand that feeds them. When embraced and used well, this can the most cost-effective and potent way to get people through the door, once, twice and maybe even a dozen times.
Whether you are just starting out or need to raise the standards as a well-established player of the hospitality game, TAFE Queensland can help you.
Our contextualised training progams have incorporated the latest industry shifts to ensure that you acquire the skills you need to deliver top tier service time and time again.