As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we can all agree that there are significant changes in culinary tourism, also known as food tourism – vegan menu options and alfresco dining at restaurants, chef-inspired gourmet meals and artificial intelligence as it pertains to restaurant reservations.
“AAA’s latest travel survey found that an estimated 22 million Americans expect to take a culinary-focused vacation in the next 12 months. Seventy-five percent of Americans feel that food and dining are an important part of their travel experiences and four in five say they have engaged in such unique activities as touring wineries and distilleries, eating with local families and engaging in hands-on experiences such as cooking classes led by local chefs while traveling." (Source: Travel Agent Central)
In fact, “The younger generation is particularly interested in culinary travel, AAA said, with 88 percent of Millennials having participated in food-related experiences while vacationing, outpacing members of Generation X and Baby Boomers.” In this blog,
Allen Marketing Communications, Inc., a boutique food and beverage public relations agency in New York City, highlights key trends as it pertains to culinary tourism.
Chef Selected Gourmet Menus
As the Covid-19 restrictions are being lifted across the country, chefs are starting to put their creative hats on again by making meals to showcase their culture. Chefs are inspired to show off meals native to their country that they grew up on as a child.
Not only this, but chefs will continue to use more locally grown, fresh and organic ingredients with healthier items on menus. This year, food lovers will discover menus featuring chef collaborations, meaning dishes will culinary influences from multiple chefs.
Artificial Intelligence AI Technology
Restaurants have started to use much more artificial intelligence technology-oriented systems during the pandemic – to order food or make reservations. These minimal contact forms of technology have been found to be considerably easier to operate and are here to stay.
In addition to AI technology, restaurants are moving towards implementing deposits or ticket sales when it comes to reserving tables. As restaurants have fully felt the pain of a no-show guests, restaurants are moving in changing the traditional way to make a restaurant reservation.
Alfresco dining, also known as outside dining, is one of the most significant implementations of social distancing during the pandemic. Alfresco dining has also been a lifeline for restaurants by providing customers with more sustainable, conventional outdoor seating structures.
Restaurant goers liked these outdoor dining so much that many restaurants have decided to keep them permanently. In addition, cities around the world are shutting down car passage in streets to accommodate the new world order of outdoor dining.
Vegan and Plant-Based Options
As we enter the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a plethora of vegan and plant-based menu options at restaurants and fast food establishments. Self-health and living healthier lives became tremendously more popular.
Disney has implemented plant based and vegan options at nearly all of the restaurants and food businesses in its parks. Epcot, for example, where guests are encouraged to “eat around the world” are now able to do so with far healthier options, such as their Boneless Impossible Korean short rib dish.
This change to the dining world is truly an exciting one as chefs are getting their hands on new ingredients which we haven’t seen before and are coming up with recreations of some of our favorite meat-heavy dishes or even creating never before seen dishes for customers to try.
Food festivals have traditionally presented an immersive platform for consumers to savor a diverse selection of foods. During the pandemic, food festivals have pivoted online to provide a more intimate experience for food lovers to have virtual tastings at home.
There has also been a new twist on something old by offering a drive through experience – servers bring food to cars – at the festivals. The Covid-19 vaccines and boosters have also injected a desperately needed lifeline for in-person gatherings for food festivals
Our talented team of food and beverage professionals are here to help clients maximize the potential from food tourism. Give us a call.
By Robert Goldsmith at Allen Marketing Communications, Inc.
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