Customisation is becoming far more normalised within the hospitality industry and while it may have once have been viewed as an annoying habit picked up from our brethren across the pond, personalisation is central to giving a bespoke and tailored experience to every customer. Meeting a customer’s dietary requirements is central to the guest enjoying their eating out experience and by prioritising their choices, venues are able to exhibit how much they value their trade.
As the industry sees an enormous upswing in trends like veganism or flexitarian dishes, restaurants are having to up their game when it comes to providing for the discerning customer. Thankfully we have seen leaps and bounds of progress in the last year.
While once upon a time it was only top-notch burger joints that would give the customer complete control over every aspect of their dish, this appealing ‘build your own’ attitude has spread across the high street. This means you can go bun free for those skipping carbs, opt for grilled chicken if you are watching calories and substitute for plant based fillings if you’re vegan.
Though the deconstructed menu may leave you with oodles of choice, don’t let the power go to your head! It is very easy to get caught up playing chef and load your dish with a heap of extras that you have no hope of eating.
Dishes catering to dietary restrictions
Previously the vegetarian option on the menu was a disappointing cheese-based dish, while those wishing to live a life free of gluten were often confined to a salad. Thankfully that has changed in almost every aspect of the industry. From the Michelin starred restaurants to the street food trucks, gluten-free offerings are clearly labelled and quickly snapped up.
The high street is where this has been the most visible, making it a lot more accessible to those with strict dietary requirements. Pizza Express not only have gluten free pizza bases, but they have also launched gluten-free dough balls. Meanwhile, Wagamama has an entire menu dedicated to their vegan guests that encompasses everything from a special Pad Thai to gluten-free sorbet.
The improvement of the dishes offered to those who have dietary requirements is not only reflecting the popularity of taking your health into your own hands via your consumption but also in an effort to deliver tasty well-balanced dishes to every guest regardless of health restrictions. Whereas previously a guest would have had to remove meat or dairy items thus removing the integrity of the dish, a specially created alternative offers the guest the best experience and the chef an opportunity to experiment with unusual ingredients.
Restaurants dedicated to their niche
Those who are sick of wandering the food scene and not finding their diet or lifestyle choice catered to, have begun taking measures into their own hands and creating businesses based about a set ethos. Terre a Terre in Brighton puts veg at the centre of every dish, making complex creations that showcase local and seasonal ingredients. Friendly to both vegans and vegetarians, it takes the worry from dining out and instead leaves you agonising over their choice of suitable offerings.
Farmacy based in Notting Hill, is the perfect stop for those eco warriors concerned over not only their own household waste but the environmental impact of eating out. This minimum waste restaurant practises using the entirety of the ingredient and is vegan to boot so it covers a series of dining needs.
Overall there have been several different ways that the hospitality have offered people more choice over the last year, and though all of these concepts may have begun much earlier than 2017, the momentum they continue to build has made dining out much more accessible to people all over the country. This is only set to improve as people not only continue to customise their dishes, but businesses are sitting up and taking note of popular choices on their menu. There has also been so much talk around different diet choices that as an industry, hospitality is a lot more educated on the level of high-quality offerings that should be available to all guests on every menu.