The difficult 2020 has changed many areas of our life – some are gradually returning to their previous rut, others are radically changing. For example, with the onset of the lockdown, the gastronomic industry has noticeably transformed – even adherents of offline activities have taken up delivery, and the menus of many establishments have begun to replenish with non-trivial, but easy-to-transport dishes.
We asked Moscow restaurateurs, chefs and bartenders about what global and local trends in the industry they notice and what we will eat in 2021.
Previously, guests preferred mono-concepts: they came to a restaurant for dinner, for sushi – in a Japanese restaurant, in bars they gathered for an aperitif, then went to a club, and after that they had breakfast in coffee shops. Now we see that the establishment can combine many formats. There are already such restaurants where Asia and Italy coexist on the menu (for example, She of Boris Zarko). Or Bar Bosco is a bar for evening cocktails and nightlife, but in the morning and afternoon we function as a restaurant for breakfast and lunch. In my opinion, projects with a mixed format will continue to develop.
Also, people are willing to pay for an exclusive, especially in the premium segment. Guests are ready to give money for fermented meat from special breeds, for lobsters, which can be delivered home with cooking instructions, for the delivery of ready-made ingredients and a video recipe for them.
Habits during quarantine changed a lot: if earlier people went to work on schedule, which means they had breakfast, lunch and dinner at about the same time, now many people still work from home and they don’t care when to have breakfast – they can leave at home at 10:00, at 14:00, at 18:00. Many restaurants are adjusting to this – for example, they add a brunch or a 24-hour menu so people can choose an evening-format meal in the morning.
An obvious trend – people are again paying attention to vodka. They began to drink high quality vodka – both in pure form and in mixes. Vodka-based cocktails are popular again, and it’s not just Bloody Mary.
It seems that today guests are interested in everything: shows, entertainment, and prices. But first of all, the guest is interested in the positive emotion from the visit. And here the restaurant has confidently occupied the niche of the main entertainment – in two capitals for sure. When you have been on a negative agenda for a long time, the restaurant again becomes that rare place in the city where you get positive emotions from food, drinks, hospitality, communication.
Have Muscovites’ habits changed somehow? Hope so. We plan to launch breakfasts at Smoke BBQ on Trubnaya in April. At this point, I hope, Muscovites will only have breakfast outside the house! But there is still a share of guests who have not overcome their fear of visiting restaurants and, in principle, public places. Hope to see them in restaurants with the appearance of the heat.
As for global trends, now many have paid attention to non-alcoholic cocktails or cool table beer with a small percentage of alcohol (for example, 3%). When you can add delicious beer for dinner to wine for dinner without consequences, you can only rejoice.
Notable trends in 2020 include plant-based foods, reduced consumption of meat and alcohol, and healthy eating. All this remained relevant at the beginning of 2021. And of course, most of the restaurants that hadn’t been delivering before burst into this niche. Therefore, an important task for many in the current year will be to strive for a higher level of delivery.
Unfortunately, in the current realities it is impossible for companies in Russia to adhere to exceptional eco-principles, but it is important to strive and wait for some public, state and international initiatives.
I consider it an important trend to return to simplicity and quality. The industry has been running too fast in recent years, everything has been done quickly, on a large scale, but not very high quality and not particularly deliberate from the point of view of the consumer. Several dozen food malls were built in Moscow, but no one thought about whether consumers need them.
The guest is largely conservative and may lack just good coffee outside the office, or fresh hot bread and butter at breakfast, or good sushi for a reasonable price, or a cozy place to drink wine with friends. He wants to go to places convenient for him, and does not constantly look for everything new, as this takes away too much emotional and intellectual strength.