Recently, there has been a blending of commercial and non-commercial culinary experiences. In a sort of trickle-down effect, restaurants have branched out from their regular places of business into the streets via mobile food trucks and into the rest of the world through catering services. As a result, caterers and other foodservice professionals have moved directly into consumers’ homes. There has even been some overlap as mobile food trucks are sometimes catering parties.
It is evidence of the growing Clockless™ trend in the foodservice industry for professionals to move beyond the common, expected ways of serving customers and into the main stream by meeting consumers where they are, when they want, regardless of time.
To generate healthy profits in today’s fast-paced culture, everyone from manufacturers to operators are searching for new revenue streams. One example is Kraft Foods’ mobile app which allows users to download recipes, create shopping lists and locate nearby retailers right on their cellular phones. This app also follows the “Appetite for Food Apps” trend identified by The Food Channel.
Another example of foodservice professionals reaching consumers in their homes is catering companies offering cooking classes. Happy Chef Catering Company recently offered a cooking class for four people as a Deal of the Day on the internet marketing site Groupon. Following that same progression of the trend, ConAgra Foods recently partnered with an online community, TheMotherhood.com, to launch a cooking school hosted by bloggers. The multimedia school brings the foodservice industry into consumers’ homes via video, blogs, discussions forums, social media and other rich online content.
As consumers today become busier and continually strive to beat the clock, foodservice is going to adapt to the new schedules and lifestyles. This means industry professionals will continue to stray from the routine way of doing things and move further down the food chain to meet customers where their buying power is found. Whether it may be online, on the street or in individual homes, the face of foodservice is changing to meet changing consumer demands. The Food Channel closely tracks those changes and brings the latest consumer trends to light.