By Sarah Stevenson
Local sourcing, sustainable foods, and improved nutrition—these are just a few of the buzzwords that food and beverage managers will need to keep track of. The National Restaurant Association recently released its "What's Hot in 2016" survey, which details the latest business, technology and menu trends in the culinary field from a poll of nearly 1,800 pros.
Knowing what's trending in the field helps food and beverage managers stand out from the crowd and bring new and exciting culinary experiences to their customers, too—and they're also topics aspiring or current students in these fields should be aware of, too.
Looking forward, 41 percent of the chefs surveyed believe that environmental sustainability will be the hottest trend over the next decade, followed by local sourcing (21 percent) and nutrition (14 percent). Only 7 percent believe gluten-free cuisine will remain a hot trend.
Staying Current on the Job
Of course, a key part of the success of a restaurant is making sure it stays relevant and appealing to customers, and one of the major ways of doing this is to stay current with the industry and with what customers are interested in.
With the myriad tasks that food and beverage managers face on a daily basis, it's important to acquire the right skill set. Whether you gain this knowledge on the job or through a food and beverage management degree program, you'll want to make sure you have the following skills on your plate:
- Leadership, management, and organizational abilities
- An eye for detail, especially when it comes to numbers
- Excellent communication and customer service skills
- The ability to stay calm and be flexible in a crisis
- Plenty of energy to cope with both physical and mental demands
- An ability to multitask
- A passion for food and drink
- Continually updated knowledge of the field
Food and Beverage Management Degrees Can Help
A solid education from a reputable food and beverage management degree program will help you tackle this rather intimidating list of skills. Moreover, a quality educational program will address food industry trends as a routine part of the coursework. Here are just a few examples of classes that will help you prepare for tomorrow's culinary field:
- New World Cuisine (Johnson & Wales University)
- Contemporary Healthy Foods (Cornell School of Hotel Administration)
- Introduction to the Hospitality Industry and Industry Trends (The Art Institute of Pittsburgh
- Religion, Diet, and New Food Trends (The Art Institute of California – San Diego)
Courses on more specialized topics like wines and wine pairings, American regional cuisine, and entrepreneurship also reflect culinary trends—namely, the increasing use of artisan and local foods and beverages including ice cream and spirits and the burgeoning popularity of food trucks.
Of course, the classic skills will always hold true, too, so you'll want to make sure that your food and beverage management degree teaches you fundamentals like sanitation and safety, operations management, customer service management, and strategic planning.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2016-17 Occupational Outlook Handbook; The Art Institutes; National Restaurant Association.