5 Popular Food and Beverage Trends to Watch
Board 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 TrendsTo attract residents, many communities are investing in on-site high-quality food and beverage amenities. Keep an eye on these 5 popular food and beverage trends if your board is considering adding or enhancing food and beverage amenities in your community.
1. Healthy MenusWith an ongoing interest in nutrition and wellness, many people are looking for healthier menu options. Your community's restaurant might offer healthy menus incorporating ingredients from different cultures and cuisines (such as quinoa dishes inspired by South American cuisine or lentil dishes with Indian influences). The popularity of plant-based foods is also on the rise. Because plant-based foods are rich in nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, some people choose them as an alternative to meat. This is also appealing to vegetarians and vegans who prefer to stay away from animal products. Vegan tacos, black bean burgers, cauliflower steaks, and traditional plant-based hamburgers such as the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger are popular protein-based menu items.
It has also become more and more common for Americans to limit or eliminate sugary beverages, such as sodas and sports drinks, from their diets. Instead, they are opting for healthier, low-carb, low-calorie drinks. Two popular drink choices that are both refreshing and healthy are sparkling water, which is often flavored, and coconut water.
2. Outdoor DiningOutdoor dining spaces gained in popularity due to the social distancing that occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sidewalk seating, outdoor patios, and green spaces have become safer and more desirable alternatives to eating indoors. Al fresco dining can also improve residents' lifestyles, allowing them to connect with nature and enjoy the fresh air. Many communities are considering casual rooftop grills and poolside cafés, depending on the available space.
3. High-Tech OrderingApps and other technology systems have become more commonplace for consumers and residents alike who sometimes use them when ordering and paying for meals. The Quick Response (QR) menu has become a mainstay, providing a convenient and contactless way to view and order food. The food and beverage industry has become reliant on this byproduct of the pandemic.
4. Grab-and-Go DiningToday’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 providing residents with the convenience they crave. As prepackaged meals and snacks become more convenient, grab-and-go has gained traction. A great alternative to fast food, these foods are also healthy and affordable. Typical grab-and-go foods consist of packaged fruits and vegetables, yogurt, bread, granola bars, trail mix and 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 CasualGoing out to eat is a special occasion for most of us. 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 towards more casual dining experiences. Unlike fancy restaurants, casual dining offers the same food and service quality – without the formality of dressing up.
Whether you're looking for a gourmet burger place or a farm-to-table restaurant, there are now many options available for those who want to enjoy a delicious meal without any hassles.
“Most people don't have time or don't want to dress up for a night out, but they still want a 5-star experience,” according to Robert Baldwin, director of food & beverage services at FirstService Residential. “Wearing jeans while eating dry-aged filet mignon and drinking silver oak cabernet is the new trend. The cuisine and service are excellent but the environment is more laid back.”
How Can Your Community Association Stay Up to Date with the Latest Food and Beverage Trends?As a board member, you want to be one step ahead of trends to provide your residents with the amenities and lifestyles they desire, including food and beverage choices. So how can you accomplish this?
A good starting point is by staying up to date on the latest 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.
“Our goal is to create an individualized experience for each and every resident in our communities. No two properties are alike; no two resident experiences should be either,” said Labadie. “Our community managers take resident feedback seriously and are always striving to improve the resident experience.”
Learn how FirstService Residential can bring curated lifestyle management services to your community!