To succeed in the year ahead, meeting professionals must stay at the forefront of their profession. That means choosing the hottest meeting venues, embracing the latest meeting formats and delivering the most innovative meeting content.
And also: Serving the latest, greatest food and beverages.
To find out what will be hot in F&B in 2019, Northstar Meetings Group consulted Gert Kopera, executive vice president of global restaurants at Hakkasan Group, a worldwide hospitality company whose portfolio includes restaurants and nightclubs across North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. To satisfy their attendees' palates in the New Year, he says meeting planners should be prepared more than ever to embrace diverse cuisines.
"I believe in 2019, the demand for diverse cultural cuisines will continue to rise," says Kotera, who predicts that Mexican and Nordic foods will be especially popular this year -- the former because consumers want bold and spicy flavors, the latter because they want clean, simple and health-oriented ingredients. "People are expecting more accessible and authentic renditions of these international cuisines. We've seen this previously with Chinese food, which was perceived as cheap and low-quality. Hakkasan was ahead of the curve when it began to curate an elevated dining experience using Chinese cuisine, showing off the complexities of the flavors traditionally seen in Chinese dishes. I think diners are growing increasingly curious. They will continue to become more adventurous and call for the most authentic flavors that aren't watered down for American palates."
One more good bet for planners that want to stay ahead of the epicurean curve: vegetarian and vegan cuisine.
"Consumers are demanding more plant-based dishes so that groups of friends don't need to worry about dietary restrictions when choosing restaurants," Kotera says. "We've taken note of this trend at Yauatcha, where we've created a shareable menu that incorporates healthy and creative vegetable dishes that are treated with just as much thought and craftsmanship as our meat-based dishes."
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