Imagine going to your local restaurant down the street, knowing that they brew their own beer, grow their own food from a local garden, and all their meats are imported from a local distributor. Would you be more likely to dine at a restaurant that so heavily supported localized business? That's what restaurant owners are banking on according to National Restaurant Association's "The State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018". And they're banking on it because "consumer interest in locally sourced foods has grown in the past two years", according to nearly eight in ten restaurant operators. Restaurants are looking to become incredibly localized, supporting their communities in a way that makes consumers happier and will strengthen their segment's economy.
The first step is to source food locally, supporting local butcheries, farms, breweries and the like. However, according to the National Restaurant Association's 2018 "What's Hot" report, chefs are saying that restaurants becoming "hyper-local" is the No. 1 culinary concept on restaurant menus in 2018.
Just what is "hyper-local"? It's exactly what it sounds like. Restaurants grow their own food in gardens they run and own, brew their own beer on-site, and produce other house-made items. Restaurants, essentially, abandon a large part of theirimporting of supplies and instead produce a large portion of it themselves, in turn creating more stable jobs and opportunities to local workers looking to stabilize their careers.
So why go "hyper-local"? How does this benefit the restaurants? Well, it's no secret that one of the hottest ongoing topics in politics is the workforce in America and creating opportunities for local work to flourish. By supporting local businesses and establishing "hyper-local" means of production on-site, restaurants are allowing small, family-owned businesses to thrive in today's economy, while simultaneously producing jobs for those yearning to build a career in the dining industry. This is something people almost universally want, and thus will create more consumer satisfaction as small businesses gain popularity amongst the millennial population.
Giving back is also a huge part of the sustainability effort for restaurants. According to the Sustainability report, 50% or more consumers consider restaurants making efforts to reduce food waste. Recycling things like plastic, bottles and cans, as well as donating leftover foods are huge factors towards why they choose what restaurant they want to dine in. There are more factors than simply ambiance, service and food selection that can sway a person's decision. Thus, restaurants are supporting their local community by giving back, as well as turning the heads of potential guests to their restaurant to consider them over the competition.
The restaurant industry is changing, and the localization of the modern restaurant is something bound to increase over the next few years. More and more people yearn for small businesses to thrive, and this is a huge step towards allowing that to happen. With such an overwhelming percentage of restaurant operators looking to localize in 2018 and beyond, we can expect to see a monumental difference sooner rather than later at how the menus will look in the future.