From tastes to taste-makers, the culinary industry is always pushing the envelope (or is that napkin?) when it comes to the fresh, the novel, and the innovative. Food is something that we experience in so many different ways - whether it's consuming, preparing, sharing, or even viewing - giving us endless dimensions to explore it. Let's take a look at some of the creative directions the world's gastronomes have taken food in recent years and what lessons we can take from them.
Food Trucks and Ghost Kitchens: Getting Creative With Business Models
From barbecue to banh mi, food trucks are a great way to test a new restaurant concept before shelling out the big bucks to open a restaurant. You can trial menu items, test price points, see what resonates with your audience, figure out the best spot for your future digs, and build that all-important brand awareness before moving to a brick-and-mortar establishment. Food trucks also let you float a restaurant expansion or extend your services beyond your physical restaurant's footprint - say for catering events or holidays. Because the price point for opening is so much lower than a physical space, you can spread your creative wings to see what works - and keep your investors happy. Already have a kitchen but want to explore new menu options or trial an expansion? A ghost kitchen might be the business model for you.
Food Photography: Playing With Our Food Just Got Artistic
We've come a long way since 1970s-style cookbook photography. Food photography has become an entire artform gracing coffee tables, glossy magazines, blogs, and Instagram, and amateur and pro photographers alike are constantly innovating. From lighting tips, props, and in situ settings to an entire bespoke backdrop industry, food photography inspires the world to get creative in pursuit of showing a dish in its very best light. (And that's not to mention the scroll-worthy narrative captions or blog posts that accompany every photo - it's a unique storytelling form that melds memoir with a recipe!)
Plating and Styling: When Something Looks Almost Too Good to Eat
Whether it's ice-cream themed to paintings (or books) or molecular gastronomy that completely reimagines what food should look - and taste - like, food is increasingly an artistic playground. Even plating food has become an act of creative composition, beginning with your choice of dinnerware and extending all the way to how you layer your food, add color through garnishes (or gold!), or lend expressiveness through sauces. Presentation not only sets (or resets) expectations regarding taste and experience but also elevates foodie brands in the eyes of consumers - and the industry.
Cooking Techniques: Where Craft, Creativity and Technology Out Come to Play
The food industry is big on trends and innovation. There's a ton of competition out there, so embracing fresh technologies, ingredients, and methodologies is one way to stay on consumers' radars. High-end steak houses have embraced sous vide technology to ensure tender, consistent results, while engastration - think turduckens, but fancy - has opened up all sorts of flavor and texture opportunities. Fusion cuisine blends multiple cuisines in unusual and exciting ways, offering diners tastes and experiences that deliver a twist on their favorites. Even ingredient trends inspire chefs to get creative about their menus.
Seating Arrangements: Where We Break Bread (and New Ground) Together
Until COVID-19 hit, communal dining was the hot new craze, with strangers and groups alike coming together to meet, greet and chat. Indoor communal dining may be on pause at the moment. Still, this past year has inspired restaurateurs to create a whole new world of seating options, from outdoor trestle tables to personal "bubbles" to intimate, spaced-out seating options. It's innovation on the fly - and an intriguing new experience for diners as well.
Ready to Cook Up Something Creative?
Love how the culinary industry always manages to keep things fresh? We do as well. If you're looking to be inspired, try your hand at a new cuisine, cooking technique, or plating style. Because just like in business and marketing, the kitchen is a place to experiment, explore, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
At StellaPop, we're foodies from way back, and it shows in how we approach business. So for strategic consulting or marketing insights that are way ahead of the curve, get in touch! We've got a full menu of expertise to share with you, and we're here to help.