28 Oct 2016
According to the national Skills Need List commercial cookery trades including bakers, cooks, pastry cooks, and butchers are experiencing a national skills shortage. Australia’s flourishing hospitality and tourism industry is also driving demand for qualified hospitality workers such as baristas, waiters, bar attendands, restaurant managers, and conference organisers.
A career in such a growing area is an appealing prospect. But what does it take to rise to the top of such a highly competitive and rapidly changing industry? We’ve taken a look at the latest trends in the food scene, and what it means for your potential future career.
Have you ever thought about how quality food could be cooked up at a faster pace? A panel hosted by Unilever Food Solutions attempted to remove the stigma attached to using preprepared stocks, boosters, and ready-made condiments by chefs. The panel concluded that the increasingly fast pace of today’s food service industry meant that convenience products had a place in modern day kitchens.
This trend is all about serving foods that are both fresh and fast to people who are time poor but have high standards, even when it comes to take-away or convenience foods. What does this mean for you? The time-saving techniques you use at home to prepare a tasty meal after a long day of study could find their way into the commercial kitchens of the future.
If you’ve attended any outdoor or community event over the last few years, you’ve likely noticed the gourmet food truck trend. A long-time norm in the US, this new way of bringing previously niche produces to the massess continues to gain popularity. Gone are the days of getting a bucket of chips and a dagwood dog from your local street vendor. Entire events are now popping up centred around celebrating the new and delicous creations on offer from these mobile kitchens.
The focus of this new wave of eating is very much adaptability, both in terms of what is delivered and in how it is served. With several trucks competing at each event, space in the kitchen at a premium, and price always a factor, how will you stand out from the crowd?
Back to basics
While convenience foods continue to grow in popularity, some people have taken a different route. One such trend is a focus on back to basics food, often for (reported) health benefits. Paleo diets, organic food, and the popularity of slow fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, sourdough, and kombucha all fall under this trend. The great thing about these types of foods is that people are often prepared to pay a premium for them, leading to profitable career opportunities for those with the right skills. People wanting to take advantage of this growing trend will need to focus on learning ‘artisan’ techniques and develop a greater understanding of the fermentation process and other traditional methods.
According to Hospitality Magazine, technology is shifting the industry into interesting new directions. Social media, marketing automation, online booking systems, and digital menus are just some of the newer technologies creeping their way into an increasing number of eateries. The emergence of this new technology makes digital literacy a must for all members of staff.
New home delivery services such as Deliveroo, Ubereats, and Foodora are also changing the food landscape. Whatever delivery services is used, in the customer’s mind the delivery experience is an extension of the food outlet. A long wait time or rude delivery person could reflect poorly on the eatery. This new landscape requires forward-thinking staff and mangers to deal with the rapid pace of change.
“Our mission is to ensure nobody has a bad meal” is the selling premise of leading restaurant rating app Zomato. This app allows people to discover restaurants, write reviews, share photos, and upload menus. Zomato is hardly the only place where customers can critique their dining experience. Social media platforms like Instagram and blogs such as The Urban List and The Weekend Edition make spreading the word about your eatery just as easy as destroying its reputation.
Savvy restaurant owners and workers need to be aware of social media, both its benefits and pitfalls. When used well, it can the a very cost-effective and potent way to get people in the door and more importantly, keep them coming back for more.
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