Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

FEB 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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market spotlight A Segment Evolving A scaled down version of fine dining continues to emerge, drawing on many of the hallmarks of the fast-casual segment. This trend makes a lot of sense from an operational perspec- tive, as rising U.S. labor costs and the higher prices of dining out place pressure on operators to streamline costs, says Amanda Topper, associate director of foodservice research for Mintel. "By simplifying or automating the ordering process, more attention and resources can be directed toward obtaining quality ingredients and menu item execution. Additionally, reduced labor costs — a byproduct of limiting the number of staff — can help maintain profitability for operators. However, hav- ing some employees in the dining room for refills, bussing tables or answering questions can help patrons still feel taken care of." The emergence of the fast-fine segment seems to be a generational play. "The fast-fine concept specifically caters to Millennials," says Diana Kelter, a Mintel foodservice analyst. These con- sumers especially value experiences and smaller indulgences. "With fine dining being the ultimate leader in experience- based dining, the trickle-down effect to fast-fine offers consumers the broader aspects they value from fine dining, just at a more affordable, any occasion, price point. However, this segment poses a stronger threat to casual dining restau- rants compared to traditional fine-dining segments." Yet, there is still some skepticism about where to draw the line between casual and fine dining. Caleb Bryant, Mintel's senior food- service analyst, contends that although a fast-fine model appeals to operators due to a restaurant industry plagued by mar- ket saturation and increasing costs, these new restaurants simply represent the next step for fast casuals and do not replace the fine dining experience. Many agree that fine dining still serves as an upscale experience reserved for special occasions, business entertain- ing and foodies seeking exceptional food, chefs, wine and hospitality. "When I think about fine dining, it's more about the process," says Matthew Mable, president of Surrender Inc. and a Dallas-based advisor to owners of independent restaurants. "Operators in this segment are becoming increasingly dependent on catering, delivery and semi- private events." These more upscale operators can benefit from hosting a constant stream of events and educational opportunities for customers, and creativity is key. "People love events and love to learn, so this taps into the foodie culture that widens audiences from wealthy people to everyone," says Mable. "It also builds a brand." IRINOX has made me rethink the way I run my restaurant, from prep to lunch to dinner. 9990 NW 14th Street, Suite 107 - Miami, FL 33172 contact us: (786) 870 5064 - NORTH AMERICA Bill Kim, Chef-Owner Urban Belly

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