Sustainability, Nutrition are Part of Food and Beverage Management Degree Programs
The food and beverage industry is keeping a close eye on trends such as sustainability and nutrition.
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 2021" survey, which details the latest concept and menu trends in the culinary field from a poll of nearly 700 chef pros. While the industry has been impacted by the pandemic, it's also created opportunity to produce such products as home cooking kits, take-out options, alcohol-related products, and outdoor seating.
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, the majority of the chefs surveyed believe that environmental sustainability will still be a holdover trend over the next decade. Here are the top ten culinary concept trends from the survey:
1. Hyper-local, meaning restaurants will produce their own gardens, beer brewing, etc.
2. Natural ingredients and clean menus
3. Veggie-centric and vegetable forward cuisine, meaning fresh produce is the star of the dish
4. Environmental sustainability
5. Locally sourced meat and seafood
6. Locally sourced produce
7. Simplicity and back to basics dishes and cooking
8. Farm and estate branded items
9. Grazing, or small plates instead of large traditional meals
10. Nose-to-tail or root-to-stalk cooking, meaning all of the animal or vegetable are used
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 2020 Occupational Outlook Handbook; The Art Institutes; National Restaurant Association.
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