Food Service Management

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Trends and developments

This chapter sets out to highlight a range of current trends affecting the food and beverage manager. It is naturally selective and provides only an initial insight into some of the emerging issues facing the industry. The importance of these issues to different industry sectors and in different countries will vary, but the chapter will help you to understand the basics and provide you with a foundation and further details of where to pursue particular issues in more depth.

Food and Beverage Management

Chapter objectives
After working through this chapter you should be able to:

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Understand a range of trends affecting the food and beverage manager. Identify the possible influence of the media on consumer behaviour. Discuss changes in consumer choices in the UK and USA. Understand current environmental issues. Be aware of recent trends in financing a food and beverage operation. Be aware of ethical issues in the industry. Understand the definitions of high tech food.

One of the biggest changes in the past decade in the food and beverage area has been the recognition of the importance of consumers and the choices they make. The industry has become more market led and operators who do not take account of their customers’ needs and wants have suffered. This change has been partly reflected in the growth of food-related issues reported in the media and the wide array of television programmes with food, cooking, chefs and restaurants as their focus. These programmes range from Jamie Oliver ’s School Dinners to Gordon Ramsay’s the F Word or Raymond Blanc’s The Restaurant, alongside long running series of Hell’s Kitchen, Ready Steady Cook or the competition of Saturday Kitchen on BBC v. Saturday Cooks on ITV. Searching for programmes related to food on UK TV channels at the time of writing, resulted in 40 separate programmes in one week alone and that excludes the UK TV Food Channel! To this can be added increasing numbers of restaurant reviews in all the major newspapers and the emergence of specialist magazines such as Good Food, Delicious or Olive. Media interest and involvement in food and cooking, in the UK at least, has never been higher. According to a recent Mintel Report (2007a) on the effect of the media on eating out, half of the consumers they surveyed did not believe that the media had affected their eating out decisions but they suggest that the effect of the media is perhaps in some ways so subtle that people do not realize, or do not wish to admit, that they have been influenced. The report suggests that as the amount of media coverage has increased, consumers have become more interested in particular foods, cuisines and ingredients, showing more sophistication in their choices when eating out. Generally, customers have become more knowledgeable about nutrition and healthy eating, especially following the UK government’s healthy eating campaign, and how different types of foods should be prepared and cooked, and this is having an effect on where people choose to eat out and which dishes they will select. This in turn • •


Trends and developments

has led to more restaurants publishing nutritional information on their menus or websites and introducing more salads, vegetable side dishes and lower fat options. Many fast-food operators have found that customers are increasingly critical of their product offer and have again tried to respond with healthier options. For example, Burger King offer a Garden Salad without dressing that has less than 35 calories and a range of low fat dressings in Honey and Mustard, French, or Tomato and Basil flavours with less than 3% fat. Another interesting finding from this report is that almost one-third of their respondents would be prepared to pay a premium price for ‘high quality’ food when eating out which perhaps suggests an opportunity for restaurant...
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