Niche is the word: experts reveal 2019 restaurant trends

With an ever-growing number of restaurants opening across Australia, it’s more important than ever
for those in the industry to keep on top of the trends. We spoke to three industry experts to find out
what will be hot when it comes to food, technology, tourism and more over the following year.

Catherine Slogrove, who is director of food and beverage marketing agency Papaya, believes
executing niche, high impact promotional concepts will be a major trend in 2019. “From Bistecca’s ‘no phones’ and impressive steak hunks to Josh Niland’s Fish Butchery featuring seafood sausages, venues are creating exciting experiences based on a core theme,” she says.

Gone are the days of being everything to everyone, these days restaurants are choosing to do one niche thing and take it to the next level in a way that sets social media abuzz.

She says restaurants are also becoming more socially and environmentally conscious, with many boycotting plastic straws and taking measures to reduce food waste. “Campaigns like ‘Parma for a Farmer’ saw the pub industry unite to support Australian farmers through the drought crisis, which was heartening to see,” she says.

With a high concentration of restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne, Slogrove believes the biggest challenge restaurants face is differentiating venues from their competitors and staying relevant.

Niche is the word: experts reveal 2019 restaurant trends 1
Catherine Slogrove from Papaya PR. Image Letícia Almeida

“Everyone gravitates to the new and noteworthy, so how can you create innovative experiences to draw them back to your restaurant? It’s a cut-throat and challenging cycle,” she says. “Eat out at places that are drawing in the crowds to get inspiration, speak to different suppliers in the industry to form promotional partnerships and most importantly talk to the customers you have, and the customers you don’t, to find out what offer will resonate with them. Social media will tell you quicklywhat will resonate with your community and what won’t. Test your ideas through social as a quick litmus test for promotions.

When it comes to food, chefs will be endeavouring to create prettier, more colourful and impressive dishes for Instagram. “2018 saw epic burgers, fairy-floss French toast and ice-cream boas,” she says.

“I can’t wait to see what food porn 2019 brings us.” Slogrove believes social media will continue to rise in value as a marketing tool in the food and beverage space. “With 17 million people on Facebook in Australia and nine million on Instagram, we’ll see this as a growing mechanism to interact, market and communicate with clientele,” she says. “New features, such as the rise of ‘chatbots’, within these platforms will draw communication away from phone and email and towards Facebook and Instagram.”

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