As we welcome another exciting new year, we’re scoping out the top hospitality trends to get excited about for 2018.
2017 saw a sharp focus on all things sustainability and a lot of local love. But as we know, hospitality is always evolving and finding a fresh focus.
Read on to find out what 2018 trends might be served up across cafes, bars and restaurants near you.
In last year’s post, we mentioned the growing focus on investing in your staff. Much more than a passing trend, this is now evolving in exciting ways for the Australian hospitality industry.
Leading Australian restaurants will do well to take a leaf from the unconventional book of Ben Shewry, head chef of Attica in Ripponlea, Melbourne.
The pressure-cooker environment of the kitchen has earned our industry a bad wrap at times. But the high-stress culture is shifting into something a whole lot more sustainable, which is a good thing for all of us.
A bold visionary, Shewry infuses heart and mindfulness into every part of the business. Voted one of the world’s best restaurants, Attica’s success has as much to do with the culture in the kitchen as it does with the food; they’re in fact mutually dependent.
What does this look like? Excursions, afternoon walks to Ripponlea Gardens to pick vegetables, a test kitchen that fosters creativity and four-day workweeks for all staff are part of the picture.
Another way Aussie chefs and hospitality managers are making their mark is through incorporating native Australian ingredients into their menus for a uniquely local flavour. Our local bounty makes for an inspired menu: think wallaby braised with salt bush and pickled native berries.
In 2018 our modern Australiana is set to garner global attention, with everything from Australina native ingredients to Australian designed uniforms becoming internationally coveted.
Storytelling through video
Sharable content and engagement with foodie followers is going nowhere in 2018. Now more than ever, your customers want to connect with the people and philosophy behind your business.
Video marketing offers limitless opportunities to connect and inspire. Choose from YouTube, your website, Facebook and Facebook Live, Instagram and Instastories or even Snapchat.
With some commitment and flair, you can tell your story in a way that’s visually engaging and innovative. In 2017, Urbanbar created a video story of our own, showcasing our customised creations for Dexter Meat + Buns and Atlas restaurant and growing our audience as a result.
In 2018, plant-based cuisine and vegan friendly menus will continue to edge into the mainstream. So it’s a win for vegetarian diners as well as for health-conscious omnivores looking to boost their veggie intake and try new things.
The plant-based focus is a big win for restaurants and cafes too; they can capitalise on the cost-savings of less meat on the menu while continuing to innovate in the kitchen.
Joining forces for a community spirit
One trend on the up in 2018 is the ability to order ‘outside food’ into the bar and other multi-business collaborations. No more subsisting on bar snacks and cheese platters – you can now keep your coveted seat at the bar and order from the burger joint down the road.
This community spirit allows multiple businesses to grow and improve their dining experiences without trying to be all things to all customers.
We’re tipping the trend will continue to grow as more and more hospitality venues see the benefits of joining forces to keep customers happy.
Get out of town
For busy city-dwellers, the appeal of a rural dining destination has never been greater. Outside of all major cities, there are countless road-trip worthy food locations.
Choose from the finest of fine dining establishments, like three-hatted Brae in country Victoria, or one of the hundreds of brilliant bakeries, pubs, cafes, and bars you’ll find across the country.
There are whispers that we may have recently reached peak coffee. Relax, coffee addicts (that includes us)… we’re not yet battling a shortage of beans. But there’s another factor brewing – a tea renaissance. The diverse and subtle flavours of tea are set to make their mark on menus in unexpected ways. You might find tea-infused cocktails and desserts at a bar near you!
2018 is already shaping up as an exciting time for the hospitality industry. We can’t wait to explore the new trends that are sure to emerge in hospitality and uniforms. To stay part of the conversation and get the latest updates, sign-up to the Urbanbar newsletter today.