Increasingly local produce, culinary spectacle, and wellness eateries: on the sidelines of the SIRHA hotel and food trade show that took place last week in the French city of Lyon we found out what we’ll be seeing and eating in restaurants in the near future.
“A third of restaurants will close down within five years and re-open in another form”, says Frédéric Loeb, founder of consultancy firm Loeb Innovation. “They haven’t kept up with the market. These include traditional cafes with unwelcoming staff, chains that are not making an effort to update, and even high-end restaurants that no longer meet expectations. They need to adapt to a new generation of consumers.”
From kitchen garden to plate
“In Brooklyn, lovers of fine dining can now go to a restaurant and choose the rabbit they want to eat. The chef prepares the animal in the kitchen, just like the vegetables that the customer has chosen,” Loeb explains. At a time when consumers increasingly want to know where the food on their plate has come from, it looks like “kitchen garden to plate” will be a lasting trend. Danish chef René Redzepi, who shot to fame with Noma (ranked number one in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants) is a perfect example, as his restaurant will close in February and reopen as an urban farm. “This concept is also emerging in Europe” says Loeb. For example, the French chef Marc Veyrat has reopened La Maison des Bois, which will be 80 per cent self-sufficient. In keeping with this theme, the emphasis on seasonal products will increase. Marie-Odile Fondeur, director of the SIRHA trade show, says that we will even be talking about “weekly products.”
The entertainment restaurant
“The idea of what a chef does is changing. The chefs-as-a-brand will disappear. They’ve become overexposed in the media and spend little time in their restaurant. The chef in the kitchen is set to return, insists Frederic Loeb, referencing famous French chef Paul Bocuse.
Now that a trip to a gourmet restaurant is seen as a veritable dining experience, customers will increasingly become spectators in a culinary show acted out in front of them. They will be immersed in a multisensory setting with visual and sound effects. French chef Paul Pairet has been highly successful in Shanghai by applying this concept to his restaurant Ultraviolet. Marie-Odile Fondeur believes that the head waiter should play a key role in this new type of restaurant.
The well-being restaurant
There is already a strong emphasis on health in the restaurant industry (with customers offered dishes that are gluten-free, lactose-free, etc.) and it is set to grow. Loeb Innovation tells us that the restaurant of the future will be like a wellness spa. One example would be a restaurant where customers can watch the transformation of organic products as they are cooked with steam.
Other themes could emerge from this trend, such as restaurants where all the benefits of tea can be enjoyed.