COVID-19 has altered our reality in more ways than we can imagine. It has affected people on a micro and macro level. It has forced industries to adapt and evolve to survive in the market. When it comes to the food and beverage industry, shifts and trends in the market brought in by changing consumer behavior and industry practices, have compelled every player to take the evolutionary jump for survival.
Every aspect of the food and beverage industry right from how the supply chain should function, scheduling and managing labor, configuring commercial kitchens to meet off-premise demand, and not forgetting altered consumer behavior and their relationships with the F&B industry in general, is demanding innovation.
It is no secret that commercial kitchens are the backbone of any F&B setup and one can sense that they have undergone a major transformation in 2020 due to the pandemic due to sudden shifts in market trends and changing consumer behavior. These still linger on in 2021. Quoting New York Magazine, “The world has changed. So have dining rooms.”
We will be speaking about trends to look forward to in commercial kitchens in 2021 in detail.
1) The 2021 Consumer is more healthy-conscious than ever: In short, they have decided to ‘go green forever’
The 2021 consumer is focused more on adopting plant-based diets which have led to commercial kitchens altering their setup to accommodate this consumer demand.
Here are some physical changes in the commercial kitchen plans to accommodate plant-based diets:
- Separate refrigeration: F&B set-up with commercial kitchens need to do their homework on plant-based ingredients and create a separate refrigeration area specifically for these items.
- Meal prep areas especially to cook plant-based meals will be developed. These will include cooking ranges, cooking utensils, etc.
- Even the oven in a commercial kitchen would need to be installed solely to accommodate the cooking of plant-based meals.
According to a statistic, “The global plant-based meat market size is expected to reach $35.4 billion by 2027, a compound annual growth rate of 15.8%.” The pandemic has caused this shift to plant-based diets as consumers have become dependent on consuming food that will boost immunity as well as have a positive impact on the environment. Many food & beverage giants are responding to this and altering their food menus to accommodate more plant-based options to echo this demand.
Right from meat, to the milk we consume and even alcoholic beverages, everything is becoming greener. That is why plant-based meats, Nut milk (almond, cashew) & Oat Milk, and Kombuchas have become wildly popular amongst consumers.
2) Adopting IoT tech
One of the fastest-growing forms of tech that is becoming prominent in the food and beverage industry is the Internet of Things or IoT.
IoT helps digital devices communicate with one another with the help of an internet connection, allowing everything from POS systems to kitchen equipment to work in sync with one another without human intervention.
When it comes to applying IoT in commercial kitchen plans, it is great to acknowledge that IoT can manage cooking modes, temperature settings, and service alerts on multiple pieces of kitchen equipment. The operator or manager could have reports, prompts, and other alerts sent to their phone via text messages.
IoT’s initial investment is something to be considered as it is an expense in the short term, but the benefits in the long term make up for that.
All in all, investing in IoT is a great plan for food and beverage businesses.
3) Robotics & AI will see growth in 2021
The future is automated and yes it does contain robots. Robotics & AI will see growth in 2021 as they help reduce downtime and increase efficiency in multiple ways. In commercial kitchen plans, robotics plays a major role in food preparation and cooking, managing prepping of ingredients and cooking of the food simultaneously. Thus reducing the pressure off the human staff on the kitchen floor plan, where they can focus on other tasks.
Some AI systems are used by food & beverage set-ups to take customer orders. This also acts as a great data storing mechanism as the AI can remember the repeating customer’s order the next time they visit, thus saving time.
4) Enhanced food safety protocols
Face masks, gloves, hand sanitizers, food safety equipment, and social distancing are dominating every aspect of the foodservice industry.
When it comes to commercial kitchen plans, sanitizing stations throughout the kitchen floor have become a common sight. To take things further, food and beverage set-ups can consider working on installing and maintaining new air ventilation systems that can help filter out germs and other harmful particles from the air.
Tabletop, countertop, and drive-thru shields will continue to exist for indoor dining. And when it comes to outdoor dining, canopies and eating pods continue to dominate the scene in 2021.
5) Transparency of the supply chain
For today’s consumer:
- fair treatment of staff
- waste management of food
- safety protocols being managed by the food and beverage set-up
- information of ingredients being used in cooking
- equitability in food production
All of the above points are of great importance. Now food and beverage set-ups are being held accountable by their consumers and will continue to do so in 2021.
More trends that are here to stay in 2021:
1) Box meals over buffets
2) Affinity towards regional and global cuisine
3) More focus on nutrition hacking leading to mindful eating habits
4) More ghost kitchens and touchless service
5) Canned cocktails are all the rage now
To stay relevant now more than ever, food and beverage set-ups need the help of super-specialized experts, also known as commercial kitchen planners to help them adapt to the ‘new new normal’ in 2021.
KILOWA design is a foodservice consulting group that helps commercial food and beverage setups stay relevant. KILOWA’s commercial kitchen planners help design commercial bars and kitchens that too at affordable price points. They are known for commercial kitchen design planning, laundry management, and waste management. KILOWA’s commercial kitchen planners help their clients conceptualize and deliver prepensed and planned kitchens & bars that are ergonomic, aesthetically appealing with a great floor plan to give their client’s team a great working area.
Need more information on 2021 commercial kitchen plans? Get in touch with a commercial kitchen planner at KILOWA design.