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Trend Spotting | Key Events | The Scoop
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Trend Spotting

Is your F&B hot – or not?

San Francisco is an epicurean’s delight and the center of the farm to table movement. As we look to the remainder of 2012, three of the region’s top caterers talk about what’s in fashion for F&B. Capitalize on these ideas and elevate your next program.

1. What trends are you seeing now?

Global Gourmet CateringSpecialty “mixology” cocktails are the rage in our local bar scene. These drinks feature many ingredients and are prepared by bartenders who have a flair for creating delicious libations while guests enjoy the “show” of watching them prepare the beverage. We have a mixology program for both small and large scale events. Food trucks continue to be a hot commodity. They bring a nice “made in San Francisco” spin to culinary programs but are limited in their ability to service larger events in a timely manner. We recommend clients incorporate them into their overall food service program for smaller events and as “late night munchy” alternatives.

Paula LeDuc Fine Catering – We’re seeing a trend for artisanal and small producers of spirits for beverage offerings.  Plus food, wine and spirits education elements at events – including brewmasters, sommeliers, fromagers, celebrity chefs, and mixologists.  As a tool, Pinterest is creating innovative ideas by inspiring the evolution of new concepts.

Savor…San Francisco – Clients are increasingly requesting organic, sustainable food choices.  Savor…SF is fully committed to seasonal, locally sourced products as much as possible.

2. What’s hot for you?

Global Gourmet Catering – Mixology cocktails; tableside sorbets; walk away menus; local beer and wine pairing to match local, seasonal cuisine; scotch tastings and food pairings; meatballs!

Paula LeDuc Fine CateringDemonstration stations to engage guests in the culinary process while educating and inspiring guests and “teasing” the taste experience. Tea service is making its way into the menu. Espresso stations are less desirable than french press coffee bars with added elements like affogato’s, espresso granita and the like at the coffee stations.  Also hot is something that combines more of a molecular gastronomy style technique with pure ingredients that more represent the farm to table philosophy.  Blending these two styles leads to a pretty fantastic result. Finally, bringing back hard alcohol is popular again.  Last year many people cut down to just beer and wine to keep things in control.

Savor…San Francisco – Corporate customers always want something new and different.  Cake pops, novelty items (i.e. custom lollipops) and mini cupcakes continue to be popular.   QR codes are being used as a promotional item on individual edibles (i.e. cookies, cupcakes).  Signature drinks (linked to sponsors and/or company colors) are always popular.

 

 

3. Are your customers asking for sustainable menus and practices or is it just expected now? Are they willing to make the extra investment for organic/local ingredients?

Global Gourmet Catering – As the first Bay Area Green Business certified full service catering company being green is part of our standard practices, whether clients ask for them or not. That said, our local clientele are extremely food and beverage savvy and they expect such standards from their caterers. It has been wonderful to watch the rest of the country adopt a passion for sustainably produced and organic products and services as well. We try to work with every client’s event and budgetary means without sacrificing our standards, even if that means we must discount our services on occasion to do so.

Paula LeDuc Fine Catering – It has been our standard for years, not an option. It is our responsibility to continually find ways to become even more responsible to the environment in all of our business practices and tap into new local, sustainable products and services. Everyone needs to be innovating in this way!

Our clients expect it and if there is some relationship to the food ingredient (the actual farm, etc.) – that is appreciated as well.  We also think there is a greater level of respect for food prepared by hand with care that is more widely held than in years past. Budget always dictates the bottom-line, but clients are continually making the food a more substantial part of the budget so that this vision can be realized. Lastly, people are looking for more healthful menu options to multi day events (like all day meetings and conferences), but they still want decadent “special” food items at events.

Savor…San Francisco – At San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center, we rose to the challenge of becoming 100% green with trailblazing zero-waste programs that range from biodegradable eating utensils to composting kitchen scraps. Most customers have transitioned to “greening” their meeting, whether using digital signage and collateral material, to using bulk beverage service to eliminate individual cans and bottles.  There still are a few customers who find value in the ability to control consumption (and have more variety) by serving canned and bottled beverages.  On the whole, all are appreciative of our push to serve seasonal produce in our menus.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated in this article: Laura Lyons of Global Gourmet Catering; Paula LeDuc, Natasha Merritt, Ashley Capra, Jaclyn Dunne and Mollie Jones of Paula LeDuc Fine Catering; and Renee Leff of Savor…San Francisco.

 

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