‘Hipster movement’ is driving Australian hospitality trends towards hand-crafted and locally sourced

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New research by hospitality point of sale technology provider Impos has revealed the growing ‘hipster movement’ is driving Australian hospitality trends towards simpler venue design and hand-crafted and locally sourced food and drink.

The survey of 400 hospitality business owners, managers and workers on food trends has found that ‘dude food’ (including burgers and BBQ food) and craft beer and cider is hot, while freakshakes and nose-to-tail eating is not.

Food trends: Australians embrace sustainable eating

Australia’s hospitality industry is moving towards sustainable eating, with hospitality experts placing locally sourced and home-grown produce at the top of their list of hot food trends for 2016. One in three also expect vegan, vegetarian and organic food to be hot this year. However, another form of sustainable eating – nose-to-tail eating – is proving to be less popular, coming in the bottom three of identified trends.

Australian tastes are proving to be quite diverse, simultaneously embracing American-style dude-food venues as well as health- and diet-conscious venues with equal gusto – 33 percent and 31 percent respectively. However, the research revealed that Australians value balance and variety, with extreme eating (extremely healthy or extremely unhealthy) and food-specific venues (such as those selling only one type of food such as hotdogs) proving unpopular.

Sean O’Meara, CEO of Impos said, “Eating out is usually a social experience involving people with different tastes. To please everyone, it is important for hospitality venues to offer some variety on their menus. As the data from our research shows, if you narrow your focus too much, you risk losing customers.”

Drink trends: Artisanal alcohol on the rise

According to the majority of people surveyed, love of artisanal products will see craft beer and cider reign supreme in drink trends this year. This is followed closely by locally made alcohol (38 percent) and craft spirits (31 percent). On the other hand, premixed and bottled cocktails are on their way out (4 percent).

“Australians are no longer content with the standard selection beers and basics at their local. We are more knowledgeable of the alcohol-making process and understand that not all drinks are made equal. In our pursuit to find the perfect drop, we have become more adventurous in what we’ll try. These days if a bar or pub is going to pull in the punters, it’s got to have a diverse drinks list.” O’Meara said.

When it comes to non-alcoholic drinks, health conscious juices (31 percent) and cold drip coffee (27 percent) are expected to remain popular, while freakshakes (8 percent) and high-end mocktails (9 percent) are expected to be less popular.

Venue trends: The great outdoors

Australia’s love affair for both food and the great outdoors will take dining to a whole new level this year – with mobile locations and pop-ups anticipated to be the most popular type of hospitality venue (36 percent), closely followed by outdoor venues such as floating bars and rooftops (34 percent).

In terms of design, the modern minimalist look (31 percent) is trending upwards, while Scandinavian (14 percent) and Retro (19 percent) is becoming less popular.

Long lines to continue

Finally, in news that will be frustrating for some, the line-up for popular places show no sign of disappearing anytime soon, with the majority of respondents (58 percent) foreseeing the no-booking trend continuing this year.

“Although lining up can be frustrating, most places these days do turn over patrons quite quickly, and so to do the queues outside. Taking walk-ins minimises the implications of non-showings, therefore much more profitable for the restaurant to do so. Venues don’t really turn many people away, and chances are if you do wait in line, you will get a table,” reflected O’Meara.