Is food the new rock and roll?

Friday, December 2, 2016

What’s with the surge in popularity for food? It’s fair to say that food has gone stratospheric. You can’t get away from it. The craze for pop up concepts shows no sign of abating, celebrity chefs are increasingly seen as the new rock stars and recipe books regularly top best seller lists. With this, a whole new generation are getting in on the act. In fact, in recent years The New York Times coined the phrase ‘gastronomic youth quake’ to describe how more and more young people are shunning festivals and gigs for meals out.

But what does this mean for the restaurant industry?  And how will it translate into trends for the years ahead?

For a number of years now, live performances have remained a reliable source of profits for the music industry, at a time when sales of recorded music have suffered1.  In fact, now more than ever, it’s about ‘experience’ as consumers look to find new ways to enjoy music vs listening at home.

In the same way, the food industry is also thriving on experience. Food festivals such as Bristol’s Food Connections and Jamie Oliver’s Feastival are the new music festivals and are only set to get bigger. Street food has changed the face of the office lunchtime in city centres.  At the same time, brands such as Brick and Mortar in LA are redefining pop up to create the ultimate dining experience, whilst restaurants like Dinner by Heston or Dans le Noir, have taken the culinary experience in different and exciting directions.

Added to this is a return to old school. For the music industry, vinyl sales continue to grow, marking an unexpected resurgence in an industry now dominated by digital.  And for food, there is a small but growing portion of the population who are looking for a slower, more relaxed pace of life, looking up old fashioned recipes and cooking from scratch2.

But what can the restaurant industry take from all of this, and how can it adapt?

At the end of the day, there’s a new tribe in town – the food tribe. From scratch cooking vinyl junkies to food festival explorers to chasing Twitter for your favourite food truck, make sure the experience you provide fits the bill.