LONDON 
MENU trendslondon_dining_trends.html
LONDON DRINK trendslondon_drink_trends.html
THE STUDY
TOURstudytour.html
LATEST NEWSnews_rss/news_rss.html
HOMEhome.html
VIDEO streamsVideo.html
ABOUT MEcontact_me.html
 

For starters, this isn't about your average mobile food merchants.  These days the best street food players are delivering some of the most exhilarating cooking in the Capital at some of the keenest prices, although not by much.  And with new markets popping up all over town the casual dining fraternity stands to benefit from taking note of the trends in stronger flavours and simpler menus along with access to younger consumers.

Fuelling the younger markets interest are the trends forged by food bloggers and festivals.  Festival veterans will sense something wrong here with the old days characterised by a horrific diet of greasy burgers and rubbery noodles.  But the times they are changin’ led by a new generation of festivals where the food shares equal billing with the music.


But its not just food festivals such as Harvest at Jimmy’s or the Big Feastival in Clapham (with its 23k visitors). As they do with the headline bands, the big music festivals have to host the hottest street food operators around and they're increasingly difficult to sign up.  Backstage is where it matters most so the better street guys are finding themselves in big demand. Particularly as the front of house increasingly begins to resemble the high street as the more progressive casual diners (Byron, Waga's etc) take a position. This year expect to see Mother Flippin, Jamon Jamon, Lucky Chip, Port Authority, The Ribman and Pitt Cue amongst others in the VIP access only areas.


That alone is fuelling huge interest online but it also doesn't hurt that food bloggers find the whole street scene endlessly fascinating, guaranteeing their faithful regular updates and new discoveries.  Recent extensions include #blogeatblog with bloggers going head to head in Vibe Market at the old Trumans brewery (Brick Lane) with offers of their own. The #Ribstock festival in Soho (itself a follow up to the Chilli Standoff) where ten of London's natural-born-grillers competed for the title of British Rib Champ '12 sold out all 700 tickets on twitter in 5 minutes.  The StockMkt, a collection of street food offers and fashion labels are back for 2012 on tour across London.  And the Kings Cross Eat.st collective are taking the brakes off and pushing west with a new residency on Chelsea’s Kings Road for the spring/summer.



ROUTE TO MARKET / BRAND SEEDING

The familiar wheels off/bricks n mortar story is proving to be an effective route to market for a number of new operators.  This is best demonstrated by wildly popular new operator Meatliquor.  At first a trailer, then seeded at festivals (Glastonbury VIP), then as a residency atop a pub in New Cross, Meatliquor Is the big story this year and they're at it again with a taster coming to Leeds anchored in Neon Cactus and the recent opening of Meatmarket in Covent Garden. Similar acclaim has greeted Pitt Cue Co who anchored in Carnaby, Soho with more sites to come.  If you haven't already, brave the queues and see what the fuss is all about.  These guys are taking advantage of lower cost short lease and there’s a queue of operators following the same path.  



COOL SYNERGIES... APPEARING ON A MENU NEAR YOU SOON !

Interestingly, two of our most on-message operators are featuring named truck products within their menus.  Lucky Chip burgers are centre stage at Jonathan Downey's Giant Robot in Clerkenwell and Big Apple Hotdogs at Russell Normans latest Covent Garden offering Mishkin's.  Both Lucky Chip and Big Apple enjoy thousands of twitter followers (as do Jonathan and Russell), feature at the cooler festivals across the summer and the association is a great way for all involved to dial up the cool, particularly to a younger market that many operators find difficult to access.



FLAVOUR AND FUSION

Clearly, one of the big upsides for street food is that there's less risk for both the operator and the consumer, and that’s showing up increasingly as multi-ethnic fusion food and much higher flavour. It's less risk because the operator can swerve menu items which bomb immediately without many cost implications (no menu print or food development complications here) and customers are typically at the lowest price point and so are more likely to trial.  


In London that’s manifesting itself in a number of different ways. Higher flavour ethnic cuisine is being favoured.  At the Whitecross Street truck rodeo which strikes up on the City borders during the week, the queues formed by City workers provide an easy clue as to what's currently in vogue.  Meats are increasingly being wrapped with Turkish pizza or stuffed Naan to add flavour to the now 'so-over' wrap, the highest selling scotch eggs are those encased in chorizo or black pudding and that's immediately filtering onto bar snack menus in the higher end pubs right across town.  


Over on Brick Lane at the weekend the higher flavours are trailblazing for more unusual varieties. Where the burrito opened the door, in come a whole host of Central and South American flavours with the big news being Brasilian and Peruvian cuisine.  And with Brasil hosting the next world cup and the Olympics after London its only going to grow.  For the first time queues are forming for Chinese Bao (steamed buns typically with pork filling) and they themselves are being filled with western fillings, a carbon copy of what happened in New York.  Vietnamese dishes are providing a big draw, but not yet Malaysian. Eastern European offers are in abundance but the proprietors at present have to endure the view of the queues at the far busier Asian cuisines opposite. And multi-ethnic offers such as Roti Roll (Turkish/Indian) are beginning to get traction.


Brixton Village is fascinating and differs because it's mainly seated dining.  Here, the big deals -amongst others - are Italian meatballs, Pakistani street food and gorgeous Japanese Gyoza.  And if you think it won't catch on then remind yourself by stopping off at the original outpost of sourdough pizza operator Franco Manca before you start queuing at soon to roll out Honest Burger with their incredible 35 day Ginger Pig burger.



SIMPLICITY

Of course, the street guys are largely offering up pared down selections through necessity, and in doing so establish themselves as experts in their field and people are beginning to get a taste for it. There's another point, with simplicity comes speed and consumers are continuing to redefine the acceptable amount of time between ordering and eating.


The aforementioned Meatliquor and Pitt Cue Co aren't the only ones riding this trend.  It's rubbing off on other operators across Central London and they're marketing the lack of dishes as an upside and it seems they might be onto something.  


In extreme, the 10 Cases in Covent Garden with 3 menu items may seem at first glance as if they're a few dishes short of the a la carte (!!), until you try to get in.  Similarly at Ducksoup in Soho, where the menu is written up each day and posted on twitter, but this trend is probably best exhibited at Burger & Lobster in Mayfair/Soho etc.  The clue is in the name here and top end steak operator Goodmans are behind the operation.  It's perhaps the first example with a full fit-out and performed at scale with cocktails and an extravagant wine list. After 2.5hrs in the queue on a Thursday, where you pass the time by dreaming up productivity enhancements for your own operations (helped along by the drinks selection) you can be forgiven for concluding that they're onto something. And finally, restaurateur Mark Hix has followed up with his own cock and bull story..  specialist chicken and steak on offer at The Tramshed in Shoreditch.



So with the number of vendors and markets growing and standards rising ever higher, the cross-over into the offers of our more progressive operators continues to increase.  Much to think about for established operators looking to engage the younger diner. 


STREET FOOD 2.0

2014 TRENDS

FLAVOUR AND FUSION savouriness, umami, and stronger tastes across the menu

MEANING

value for money re-defined

CONTINENTAL DRIFT

sharing, informality and casualness

2014

2014

2014

SPEED

giving the power back to the guest

2014

CREATIVE, ENTRY-LEVEL CAPITALISM CATCHING ON

WHO’S HOT ?

see all the trends in one day..

2014

UK RESTAURANT
TRENDS 2014restaurant_trends_2014.html

A version of this trend report appears in the M&C Report (2012), the market-leading publication for the UK eating-out and drinking-out market

UK RESTAURANT
TRENDS 2014contact_me.html

I’m a food specialist, living in Brighton and working with the UK’s top restaurant brands. I’m in London most days and this blog is about news, drink and food trends from the restaurant industry and my daily exploration around the City. More about me..

SEARCH the site

ABOUT MElondon_dining_trends.html
DRINKS 
TRENDS
2014london_drink_trends.html
LONDON 
MENU 
trends
DRINKS 
TRENDS
2014restaurant_trends_2014.html
RESTAURANT
TRENDS 2014news_rss/news_rss.html
the IDEAS 
STREAMideas.html
NEWS 
RSS
the IDEAS 
STREAMbingo.html

CATEGORIES for

PHOTO
STREAMS

OR

use

about ME
contact_me.html
copyright © mike palmer 2012
contact_me.html
about ME
http://www.two-little-birds.co.uk/index.asp

EXPLORE

copyright © mike palmer 2012
M&C REPORT
Written exclusively for the senior management tier of the industry. Comprising a monthly journal crammed with insight, analysis and commentary, a daily and breaking online news service and a fully searchable archive
MIKE PALMERhttp://www.two-little-birds.co.uk/index.asp
FIND ME IN THESE MAGAZINES
PEACH REPORT
Unique research, analysis, insight and market access for the UK eating and drinking-out market.  Provides a reflective take on the big issues, leading trends, hot concepts and top operators shaping our market in the UK and globally.

CUSTOMISATION

millenials gearing up

2014

CUSTOMISATION

millenials gearing up

2014

CUSTOMISATION

millenials gearing up

2014

FOOD: THE NEW MUSIC

a generational shift in culinary awareness

2014

Top food

websites

The

0

5

RISE OF THE HYBRIDS

flavour, not geography, as a guiding principle

2014