It’s important to stay on top of consumer trends and industry changes. According to Cater Source, “Millennials are officially in control of the consumer side of the events market.” Millennial clientele expect more from caterers. This new generation focuses on health and variety; meals can’t just be delicious, they have to be photogenic, menus can’t be simple; they need to have a new level of complexity. With that said, here are the latest catering trends you need to know to hook new clientele.
1. Culture Themed Menus
Gone are the days of simple classics like burgers and fries.The new generation of consumers has a more complex pallet; foreign foods are the new normal. It is important to add some foreign choices to your menu. One easy way to incorporate this trend is to create culturally themed menus. Having menus that are grouped by country adds some flair and uniqueness to your business, and having the menus grouped nicely will keep the new choices from becoming too overwhelming for you and your staff.
2. Diet Based Substitutions
This trend is a lot of work to pull off, but the increase in clientele will be worth it. Top caterers are now offering diet based substitutions of all their menu items to accommodate the need for gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options. The extra work comes in because bigger companies also provide the regular version; so in essence, clients are getting two or even three versions of the same menu at their event.
3. Food Truck Catering
The food truck phenomenon doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon. The latest trend is a fusion of the food truck craze and catering. High paying catering clients in places like The Hamptons, Palm Beach and Beverly Hills are having fun hiring food truck caterers for their high profile events. If you already have a food truck in addition to your traditional catering business and want to get in on this trend, it could be lucrative.
4. Focus on Local
Locally-sourced ingredients are all the rage in the catering business and clients are right on board with it. To do this, work with local farmers in the area to source local ingredients that you can use in your dishes. Another trend is serving local craft beverages, craft beers are especially popular and can add local flare to your menu. Setting up a craft beverage bar at your catering event allows you to add value to your catering event by representing local vendors and offering background information about the foods and beverages you're serving guests.
5. Presentation is Key to Success
In this new high-tech world it is important to keep up with the online trends. Presentation is one of the most important things for your business to improve upon. Having “insta-worthy” food will boost your popularity immensely, people want food that is unique and different to post online. Having a dish with a unique look can turn your company into a trendy institution. Remember bigger is better make a wall of donuts, garnish a milkshake with cake, this will up your online status and make you more desirable.
6. Be Ready to Transport
People love picture perfect events - non-traditional venues have become all the rage. Make sure you have a way to transport your product safely; events are moving away from the classic dance hall or hotel with a kitchen or prep area. New, popular venues include barns, tents, museums, and beaches, this can pose a challenge; new venues make it harder on caterers than ever to keep food safe and at a high quality. Make sure you have the right equipment to keep food warm or cold for long periods of time and a way to display them.