2019 is over and the roaring 20s have begun. This year is set to be an exciting one for the service and hospitality industry, with new consumer trends, menu design and social media all set to make their mark on the bar and restaurant scene.
LOW AND NO DRINKS
With the rise of teetotalism continuing, top bars are now putting as much time and effort into developing non-alcohol and low-alcohol beverages. This idea isn’t exactly new, although in past years, you would have been lucky to find one non-alcoholic beer in your bar fridge. Nowadays, 1 in 5 young adults aged 16-24 report that they do not drink at all, meaning it’s imperative to be fully inclusive and ensure that your bar caters to this ever-increasing market.
Having a selection of premium soft drinks is no longer enough to set your bar apart from competitors. Influential bars around the country, like Nightjar, Scout and Lyaness have grabbed the bull by the horns and developed fascinating low-alcohol menus, with options for everyone to enjoy.
Seedlip is often the star of the show when it comes to the low-and-no menu and has seen exponential growth within leading accounts. These products allow bartenders the flexibility of working with a classic cocktail, or spirit mixer base and are increasingly popular with customers.
If this feels like a step too far for your bar, then putting together a short menu with low abv options can help offer variety to guests looking to cut down their alcohol intake, without abstaining completely. A great option is 25ml of vermouth mixed with tonic, which comes in at under half a unit of alcohol without compromising on flavour or feel.
With the population becoming increasingly conscious of environmental changes, looking for ways to be responsible with your drinks, waste and products in 2020 will set you apart from competitors.
In April 2020, plastic straws will be banned from sale so if you haven’t got rid of them already, it’s time to ensure you’re running down your supply. That doesn’t mean you have to jump on the soggy-paper straw train though! There are some inspired alternatives available, from Bamboo, to edible and fully compostable starch straws. Bar 1881 in Birmingham has even started making their straws out of pasta to ensure the quality of their drinks is not compromised.
Straws are merely the tip of the iceberg and with more and more legislation to follow, why not get ahead of the curve? Remove paper napkins and replace with a cork-based coaster. Amalgamate the kitchen with front of house by using waste products to produce juices and syrups. Buying locally and seasonally helps to reduce carbon, whilst celebrating all the best bits of your local area.
A great way to tie some of these themes together could be to using local ingredients or kitchen leftovers to create your own inhouse carbonated sodas. This could offer your bar a real USP, whilst also helping the environment.
Technology has been used in the bar industry for a long time, for stock control and service. In the last decade, tablets being used as menus and even interactive tables, reducing the time that guests take to order and uplifting service standards. This kind of technology has proven that by using prompted upselling and enticing dish photos can increase sales by up to 27%.
Cutting-edge bars are now using technology to create augmented reality (AR) with 3D images, allowing you to design your own dish and see the finished product before it arrives at your table.
AR is also being used to create new drinks experiences. This amazing functionality can transport consumers to a new world or embellish the one they are in. Athertons Michelin Star restaurant used an AR Cocktail App to depict art through the ages using coasters, adding theatre and an extra dimension to the whole experience.