Although that much would have been obvious to anyone who, in previous years, has followed the 5pm Dining blog’s future food predictions.
To say that our results have been ‘mixed’ would be extraordinarily kind.
The one thing that we can say with any certainty is that our predictions will continue to be hit and miss.
Others are more successful.
Based in Brooklyn, Baum + Whiteman are restaurant consultants. They have a considerably better track record than us when it comes to predicting what we will be eating and drinking over the next twelve months.
Each year, they release their predicted food and beverage trends report and it always makes for interesting reading.
Their findings are usually based on what is happening in North America but that doesn’t mean they have no relevance on this side of the Atlantic.
Some, not all, of the trends which surface in San Francisco and NYC often pop up in London. A couple of years later an echo of the original idea may make itself felt in the restaurants of Scotland’s Central Belt.
Restaurants without seats?
From this year’s report, a couple of points really grabbed the attention.
The first is headlined ‘restaurants without seats and seats without restaurants’.
The former refers to a growing trend for American restaurants and food brands to set up commercial kitchens in low rent, industrial zones.
Staffed by professional chefs, they have no dining room. They are production centres which simply cook meals for delivery to customers’ homes.
It is a form of takeaway but on an industrial scale. Put another way, they are restaurants without seats.
Momofuko’s David Chang already has two delivery-only brands in New York and several other players are entering the market.
Supper clubs go commercial
The seats without restaurants idea refers to a couple of new developments. The first is a commercialisation of supper clubs and at-home pop-ups.
In the same way that AirB’n’B has revolutionised the way that private individuals rent out their rooms, companies like VizEat provides a way for home cooks to invite strangers – usually tourists – into their home for a paid meal.
Their strapline is ‘Taste the city with locals’. They operate in a hundred countries around the world.
The second iteration of this is a new wave of e-start-ups which ‘are assembling networks of home cooks to prepare meals and deliver them to other people’s dining rooms’. Another form of seats without restaurants.
We’re not suggesting that the restaurants of Glasgow and Edinburgh are an endangered species, far from it.
However, the proliferation of Deliveroo couriers over the past couple of years suggests that the public are perfectly happy to eat restaurant style food without actually having to go into a restaurant.
The above ideas suggest new ways in which that might happen.
The 5pm Dining blog will be back tomorrow with some more easily digestible predictions for the food and drink we will be scoffing in 2017.