Once again, the Global Restaurant Investment Forum (GRIF) delivered an insightful and intriguing London Briefing at Bala Baya on July 3rd. Team Katch was there to check it out.

The Global Restaurant Investment Forum highlights some of the world’s most innovative and exciting F&B trends. In doing so, GRIF provides an invaluable platform for attendees to network and establish beneficial business relationships as they discuss the current state of the hospitality industry.

Here are some of the key points we took away from GRIF:

Keeping It Relevant

Something we’ve spoken about at length in the past is the importance of keeping your brand relevant in the ever-changing F&B environment. The GRIF panel emphasised the challenges restaurants are facing when it comes to getting guests to keep coming back. This obstacle, combined with reduced footfall and high rental prices in central London, means it’s more important than ever to keep your brand relevant. Diners look at food in the same way as fashion. They demand the latest F&B trend before moving on to the newest on-trend F&B concept. Consequently, your restaurant’s ability to stay relevant depends on your willingness to innovate and consistently evolving your brand. By taking inspiration from other industries, you can find new ways to excite consumers and keep them coming back. 

Farm to Fork

Cornish farmer and founder of The Cornwall Project, Matt Chatfield was a guest speaker at the event. He spoke about his on-going efforts to get the highest quality of fresh and nutritious local produce into the best restaurants and onto customers’ plates. Additionally, he detailed how the Cornish community is drastically trying to improve the quality of food in the UK by cultivating the ground properly and putting nutrients back into the soil. This is achieved by putting animals back onto the soil for at least two years. At the moment, however, many farmers are not taking this kind of approach to farming. Because of this, food is losing much of its nutritional value – an issue that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the government. For the first time in 75 years, a new national food strategy has been set up in Britain. As part of the strategy, chefs, farmers, retail managers, restaurant owners, and proprietors of small businesses are being asked about agriculture, the environment and food poverty. This ‘Farm to Fork’ philosophy will have a massive impact on the future of food consumption and will shape how restaurants, households, delivery companies and more look at food quality and nutrition.

The Rise of Robotics

Another fascinating discussion at the GRIF Society London Briefing focused on the impact of robotics on the F&B industry. Certain restaurants are leading the way when it comes to utilising the latest robotic and automation technologies, both in the kitchen and front of house. There has even been a rise in the number of Japanese restaurants that are using robots to cook meals. While this can seem like a daunting prospect in terms of its effect on jobs in the F&B industry, restaurateurs must acknowledge this growing trend and understand how it will affect the customer experience, as well as employees. It isn’t about replacing employees and making all jobs automated. It is, however, about innovation through integration. Instead of ignoring its continuous development and hoping that an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach will work, businesses need to introduce advanced technology into important aspects of the business.

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