Food trends for 2016: top six predictions

What’s going to be hot on restaurant menus next year?
Our top six predictions for the next big thing in restaurant dining for 2016
By Rob Clifford

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The food business moves fast. What’s hot and fresh this year can quickly become dated and dull the next. The very best chefs and restaurant owners are on top of consumer food trends—and setting the agenda for what we’re all be eating next year.

Working with many of Australia’s top chefs and restaurant owners has given me unique insight into the changing landscape of the Australian restaurant scene – these are my top six predictions for 2016 dining.

Food trend #1: value for money

Value for money is priority number on for any successful dining experience, but how can it be done? With diners looking for the very best in produce as well as value, this can be a tricky balance to get right.

Achieving value for money doesn’t always mean the highest quality, or selling expensive items cheaply to bring in customers – that’s disastrous in the long run. Just like a stylish dresser might combine designer labels with department store fashions, so too must the restaurant know where to invest and where to be economical. Planning and procurement processes need to be tight to deliver the best value for money.

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Food trend #2: casual dining

The shift towards more relaxed, informal eating will continue unabated next year. No need for linen tablecloths, fine stemware or buttoned up waiters. But customers do expect to see an effort—and personality. Customers still demand a memorable dining experience, and they prefer the energy and expense to be invested into the food, wine and ambience instead of the fancy trimmings.

How to create that unique experience that diners expect? Think quirky signage to give diners a laugh, magazine-worthy design and fittings, and quirky menu items (like freakshakes) that inspire customers to post on Instagram.

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