Service and Food Trends of 2016

2016 promises to be another big year in the hospitality industry. This year we can expect the mobile phone app to truly take over as the way your guests will interface with your business. Because of this, hotel services and amenities will change drastically.

The same goes for the restaurant industry. Companies such as Doordash are making a big splash in cities across the country by making the take-out/delivery model even easier to use. With the Doordash app, you can effectively have almost any restaurant’s food delivered to wherever you are.

Food trends and tastes will be changing as the availability of consumer favorites continues to be a concern.

Other trends were pinpointed in September of 2015 when 1600 chefs from the American Culinary Federation were asked about what new flavors and regional influences were titillating their palettes? Many of them noted their growing interest in African and Middle Eastern flavors for 2016.

As you observe your business over the next few weeks, it might be a good idea to monitor your guest’s special requests and/or your product mix and closely and take note.

Also, remember how important it is this time of year to maximize guest feedback and use that information to your business’ benefit. You may want to highlight a question asking what service trends your guests are looking for or would like to see in 2016. Make it part of your marketing plan and offer some incentives for feedback and social media shares.

The most important hospitality trends of 2016 will be:

Service. 4TrendsInTheFoodServiceIndustryfor2016_Hero

The mobile app will take over.

We are tied to our phones and tablets. It’s time to embrace that fact, and stop lamenting over days gone by. 2016 will see the increase in the importance of the mobile app as the way your guests check in (and out) of your hotel. Mobile apps allow for paperless billing, saving you money while allowing the guest to have greater control over their stay.

Mobile apps will introduce hyper-personalized service. Guests will be able to pick the size of their room, and even their room’s location within your hotel. Guests will also be able to control their room’s devices through their mobile phone or tablet. Things like controlling the smart TV, turning on/off lights, and controlling the temperature will be incorporated into your offered services.

As a proprietor, you’ll be able to record this information and store it in your guest’s preferences for their next visit. Guests will be able to enter their room in another hotel across the country, or the world, and find it hard to believe they are in a different location; the TV channel will be where they left it, the lights will be dimmed to their preferred level, the air will be at the perfect temperature.

The rise of the mobile app will change some constants within the hotel industry and raise some new questions.

  • Can an app be developed that is universal across all hospitality businesses, or will the user have to download a different app for each brand?
  • Will the front desk go away?
  • With apps and services such as Uber or Lyft, will your hotel need to offer transportation anymore?
  • Will tipping go away?

Restaurants and food companies have integrated apps into their service also. Domino’s now offers ordering options through text and twitter. They even have their own pizza emoji. Delivery companies such as the aforementioned DoorDash have revolutionized the delivery model. They work with hundreds of restaurants in your area, require no minimum order, and have a minuscule delivery fee.

Perhaps as time progresses, you won’t even need to give a delivery address. Through mobile phone location services, your food may be able to be delivered to wherever you are standing.


Consumer palettes will become increasingly adventurous.

“Local, healthy, but with a flavor explosion.” You’ll hear menus described in this manner more and more over the next year. As we alluded to earlier, African and Middle Eastern dishes and spices are going to be a big part of the menu for 2016.

Local and healthy seem to go hand in hand these days. Across the country, the big food suppliers are increasingly in competition with local producers of meats and cheeses. You’ll also see vegetables being locally sourced in increasing amounts for their taste and freshness. This allows restaurants and chefs to go to the local farmers market and pick out what they need for the day or week, giving them better creative freedom over their menus, and eliminating any worry about GMO’s and processed foods.

Be on the look out for East African berbere, North African dukkah and ras el hanout, as well as other regional spices. These spices are pungent and powerful and are traditionally used as a seasoning for fish, beef, goat, and lamb. The rise of spicy condiments flavored with the above spices, as well as new condiments intended to reach a higher level of heat will become widely available.

Chef’s also predict (or maybe just hope) that with the rise in popularity of these condiments and spices the American palette will be more open to trying menu items made from offal.

Sustainability will become a critical issue.

2015 saw another increase in prices for beef and chicken. With this increase in the price for proteins and the ever increasing health consciousness, look for an increase in vegetable dishes across menus.

The twelve months of 2015 also saw chefs begin to use, and sometimes specialize in, “under-utilized” fish in order to save the dwindling seafood supply. Sushi and seafood menus saw relatively unknown fish such as sheepshead and drum make their appearance hoping to dent the popularity of more popular fish such as tuna and salmon.

Amidst this upheaval in the food industry, the US Food and Drug Administration has just given their approval for the biotech company AquaBounty to begin producing genetically modified salmon for human consumption. The FDA alleges that after 20 years of testing the fish are safe to eat.

Opponents of genetically modified foods are already in an uproar online and some chefs have pledged to never serve the genetically modified fish in their restaurants.

Follow Serviceable to stay up to date on trends throughout 2016. Help us spot new trends by replying in the comments section.

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