When Holistic Hospitality Solutions launched one year ago, our aim was to help businesses in the restaurant and food service industries succeed in all aspects of their operations. Today, we can confidently say that we have accomplished this and much more. Part of our success comes from knowing what is at the forefront of our industry. Here is our review of 2017’s biggest trends and innovations, along with our predictions of what’s to come in the year ahead.
2017 In Review:
Fighting Food Waste
This year, food waste was at the forefront of everyone’s minds as large hospitality industry powerhouses and small businesses alike took great strides in tackling the issue. At the beginning of the year, our blog post on industry trend predictions looked at “food scrap restaurants” and how grocery stores had begun to purposely offer less than perfect produce in their aisles. This year, Vancouver witnessed the opening of Nada (formally Zero Waste Market), the city’s first entirely zero waste grocery store. The fight against food waste continued with A&W’s momentous pivot towards eco-friendly packaging and innovative food waste donations program. We called it correctly: concern over food waste is much more than just a fad. It’s here to stay.
The Power of Instagram
Unsurprisingly, Instagram has continued to grow in popularity over the course of 2017, reportedly hitting 800 million users in September. As a result, the hospitality industry is taking advantage of this growing user base to further promote business and drive sales. Customers today are in the unique position of being an integral part of your marketing strategy, as their web of influence continues to expand. With this in mind, it is important to be in the driver’s seat, rather than leaving it solely to your customers to tell your story. Take advantage of Instagram’s popularity and ensure that you are actively engaging with your client base.
As social media use continues to rise, so does the trend towards everything going digital. It won’t be long before mobile payments are the rule in the hospitality industry, not the exception. Businesses with private label apps, such as those offered by KiSSGC, will come out ahead of their competitors. Be sure to keep an eye out for the industry leaders behind the Joseph Richard Group to launch their own branded app in 2018! We’ll also be profiling the JR Group’s impressive success story on our blog in the new year.
Earlier this year, we discussed how important it is for those in the hospitality industry to implement a maintenance program for commercial kitchen equipment. It is at least as important to pick a qualified and trusted company when you’re planning to purchase any new components. This is critical to ensuring you get the longest lifespan out of your equipment. Two equipment suppliers that we stand by are Russell Hendrix, the largest supplier nationally, and Westcoast favourite Pacific Restaurant Supply (be sure to check out our interview with Pacific’s president here). Looking for a supplier in your region? Feel free to contact us if you would like suggestions.
Where the Chefs Eat
In 2017, we also polled a few of our favourite local chefs on where they like to dine when they are off the clock. Answers ranged from Yuji’s From Japan to Juke Fried Chicken, illustrating just how varied Vancouver’s dining scene is. Holistic Hospitality Solutions’ founder Trish Hudson personally counts Nightingale and Kissa Tanto among her top restaurant picks.
Our Predictions for 2018
Animal advocacy has been on the rise for some time now, with big name stars stepping onto the stage and helping to further the cause. Examples include Beyond Meat, a plant-based burger brand backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, and food tech company Memphis Meat, which aims to grow sustainable cultured meat — and counts business moguls like Bill Gates and Richard Branson among its supporters. Furthermore, non-dairy options have migrated from a niche market to the mainstream, as a visit to any Starbucks store will show. We can expect to see continued growth in terms of vegan menu options and vegan restaurants alike. Personally, we’re looking forward to having more vegan coconut whipped cream in our lives.
Tea Trends on the Rise
Tea has been the drink of choice in much of the world for centuries, especially throughout Asia and in nations with a legacy of British colonialism. More recently, the popularity of tea has picked up steam in the West, particularly in North America. Hailed for its health benefits and large variety of flavours, we predict that tea will become even more popular in 2018 — both as a beverage and on menus in fine dining establishments. Keep an eye out for more tea varieties and tea-infused foods than ever before!
Like tea, raw fish is an import that is steadily increasing in popularity. Poke bowls fit in nicely with the health-conscious movement that is sweeping the globe. Not surprisingly, this Hawaiian dish can now be found just about anywhere — and with demand for healthy food options increasing, we predict this is one food trend that will continue to stick around.
Hyperlocal + Low Waste
The hospitality industry is now capitalizing more than ever on local fare. This focus on regional and seasonal foods goes hand-in-hand with the growing concern over our ecological footprint, as local food means less transportation requirements and fossil fuel emissions. What’s more, the success of recycled food scraps and no-waste grocery stores indicates that reducing waste will continue to be an issue of importance for years to come.
Regular cane sugar is losing its touch. Devoid of nutrients and produced from a water-intensive crop, consumers are now turning their interests to other sugar sources: namely dates, sunroot (also known as sunchoke or Jerusalem artichoke) and monk fruit. Restaurants are already incorporating these ingredients into more of their desserts, and we predict this trend will be among the hottest of 2018.
With the legalization of cannabis across Canada and in several U.S. states, we can expect there will be a large range of cannabis-infused food and drinks entering the market. Love it or hate it, this is definitely an up-and-coming trend that the hospitality industry needs to pay attention to.
Anticipated Vancouver Restaurant Openings in 2018
This Cuban-style cocktail bar and restaurant is set to open in a newly renovated plot on Main Street. Expect a wide variety of snacks and sharing plates alongside a cocktail menu that is guaranteed to impress.
2610 Main St., Vancouver
Mahjong Social & Shanghai Alley Noodle Shack
With 7,500 square feet of space, Mahjong’s is set to be an eclectic mix of pub and restaurant (Mahjong Social) combined with a rooftop lounge and noodle bar (Shanghai Alley Noodle Shack). Take-out will be delivered the authentic way — by motorized rickshaw! The whole setup is slated to be open sometime next year.
276 East Pender St., Vancouver
With plans to open by February 2018, this casual Italian restaurant is set to be in a prime location on the Granville Island waterfront. Plates will specialize in Venetian fare with a host of Vancouver’s most talented chefs at the helm.
1585 Johnston St., Vancouver
MeeT in Yaletown
Arguably one of Vancouver’s most beloved vegetarian restaurants, MeeT is expanding into Yaletown this January. The menu is set to contain more of MeeT’s celebrated vegan comfort food.
1165 Mainland St., Vancouver
Coquille Fine Seafood
Coquille (French for ‘shell’) intends to take an innovative approach to classic seafood staples. The space is set to be split between a dining room and a bar/lounge area, complete with ice displays. Expect to see the doors open sometime in winter 2018.
181 Carrall St., Vancouver