chef with food demonstrates food and beverage trendsBoard members are always looking for ways to improve their communities and make them more desirable places to live, and amenities can do just that. Amenities enhance lifestyles, help attract and retain potential residents and even boost property values. And when it comes to food and beverage amenities, most residents are eager to experience the latest and greatest culinary and beverage trends. This refined interest in food as an experience – which extends beyond nourishment – has given rise to the "foodie."  What was once a niche interest has almost become a mainstream obsession, significantly impacting how we live as more and more people choose to live in areas with easy access to high-quality restaurants and bars that offer culinary experiences.

“For most people, there is a strong desire to live in a community that offers resort-style living, and food and beverages as an on-site amenity often top the list,” said Landy F. Labadie, vice president of community solutions at FirstService Residential. “Historically, one of the main reasons people travel is to escape and find opportunities to enhance their quality of life. Today, people want to live how they vacation, and communities offering on-site food and beverage options, such as coffee shops, grab-and-go markets and gourmet restaurants, can be appealing because they provide residents with a resort-like experience, with the comfort and familiarity of being at home.”

Popular Food and Beverage Trends

Communities are taking note of the latest trends, and many are now investing in on-site high-quality food and beverage amenities to attract residents. If your board is considering adding new on-site food and beverage amenities to enhance your residents’ lifestyles, you’ll want to keep an eye on these 5 popular food and beverage trends.

1. Healthy Menus

With an ongoing increased interest in nutrition and wellness, many people are looking for healthier menu options. Healthy menus that incorporate ingredients from different cultures and cuisines (think a quinoa dish inspired by South American cuisine or a lentil dish with Indian influences) might be found in your community’s restaurant. Plant-based foods are also gaining in popularity. Some people choose them as an alternative to meat because they are rich in nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. This is also appealing to vegetarians and vegans who prefer to stay away from animal products.

Some popular protein-based menu items include vegan tacos, black bean burgers, cauliflower steaks and traditionally prepared plant-based hamburgers such as the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger.

More and more Americans are limiting or eliminating sugary beverages such as soda and sports drinks. Recently, we’re seeing a growing shift towards healthier beverage alternatives. Health-conscious consumers are turning toward low-carb, low-calorie drink options. Sparkling water, often flavored, and coconut water are two popular refreshing and healthy choices.

2.    Outdoor Dining

Social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic helped fuel the popularity of outdoor dining spaces. The use of sidewalk seating, outdoor patios, and green spaces has become a safer and sometimes more desirable alternative to eating indoors. Dining al fresco also allows residents to connect with nature and enjoy the fresh air, which can further enhance resident lifestyles.

3.    High-Tech Ordering

Residents and consumers alike have become more accustomed to ordering and paying for their meals using apps and other technology systems. Quick Response (QR) menus have become a mainstay, offering a convenient and contactless way to view and order food using your smartphone. This byproduct of the pandemic has become central to the food and beverage industry.

4.    Grab-and-Go Dining  

Today’s busy resident is constantly on the go and wants a variety of food options that can keep up with their active lifestyles. Grab-and-go foods are a great way to promote healthy eating habits while still providing residents with the convenience they crave. Grab-and-go has quickly gained traction, providing a convenient way to consume prepackaged meals and snacks. These foods are also usually healthy and affordable, making them a great fast food alternative. Typical grab-and-go foods consist of packaged fruits and vegetables, yogurt, bread, granola bars, trail mix or hard-boiled eggs, which can be easily grabbed on the way out the door and eaten while walking or riding to work (although we highly recommend abstinence while driving!).

5.    Fancy Casual

For most of us, going out to eat is a special occasion. It's a chance to relax and enjoy good company, tasty food, and maybe even a bit of luxury. In recent years, however, there has been a shift toward more casual dining experiences. These offer the same service you might find at a fancy restaurant, just without the formality of dressing up. From gourmet burger establishments to farm-to-table restaurants, there are now many options for those who want to enjoy a delicious meal without any hassles.  

“People are busy and don’t always have time or want to dress for a night out but they still want a 5-star experience,” according to Robert Baldwin, director of Food & Beverage at FirstService Residential. “Eating a dry-aged filet mignon and drinking a silver oak cabernet while wearing jeans is the new trend. The food and service are top notch but the atmosphere is more relaxed and the residents are more comfortable.”

How Can Your Community Association Stay Up to Date with the Latest Food and Beverage Trends?

There is no doubt that as a board member, you want to be up to date on the trends that are going to make it easier for you to offer your residents the amenities and lifestyles they desire, including food and beverage options. So how can you accomplish this?

A good starting point is by staying up to date on the latest food and beverage trends, sharing these with your residents, and regularly soliciting their feedback. What is their preferred style of dining? Is it casual, fancy casual, or formal? What items would they like to see included on the menu? Your professional property management company should work with your board to create the best food and beverage amenity offerings that complement your community’s lifestyle.

“We support our communities by striving to create an individualized experience for each and every one of our residents. No two properties are the same; no two resident experiences should be either,” said Baldwin. “We take resident feedback seriously and are always looking to improve the food experiences in the communities we manage.”

Learn how FirstService Residential can bring curated lifestyle management services to your community!

Wednesday November 16, 2022