Many hospitality, travel and food organizations and consultants recently released their 2019 trends. We at BTC have scoured these predictions and have compiled our own “Top Trends in Travel, Hospitality, Food and Weddings in 2019.”


Hospitality Food Trends


1. Farm to table 2.0

The farm-to-table movement has recently taken a new path. Restaurants are bringing farmers to the table, involving them in menu creation and even asking them to plant specific crops just for their menus. These relationships between restaurants and local farms help to support and sustain farming.


2. Interesting local food and beverage

Celebrity chefs are out as hotels stop competing with fine dining restaurants and turn instead to good, relatively simple, wholesome and local food service. Upscale and upper upscale hotels are asking what interesting things they can do with their space in their neighborhood, and we are seeing lots of clever things — not the same menu in 500 hotels — but genuine, interesting, local and tasty offerings.


3. Vegetarianism

The popularity of vegetarianism has changed the way chefs approach menu offerings. With today’s diners increasingly aware of their “macro diets” and culinarians applying unique and creative takes on mom’s succotash, menus will soon see a large portion dedicated to vegetarians and what is plant-based and coming from the ground. Dishes are even becoming vegetable-focused, with proteins as the compliment. Even vegetarian tasting menus are quickly becoming a staple in many accredited establishments.


4. Diversity of food and eating experience

There’s a big focus on dining options/restaurant variety, food quality and diversity, cooking classes and demonstrations, foodie events and fresh organic produce from on-site gardens and greenhouses. Karisma Resorts, for example, are known as the gourmet all-inclusive, and they really cater to foodies. In Mexico, guests of their El Dorado Royale can join the audience at the Fuentes Culinary Theatre, a Food Network-style demonstration kitchen. Karisma also has partnerships with Jackson Family Wines and Canadian Beef, and hosts weekly events featuring their products. Excellence Resorts also has a focus on diverse dining, with multiple Caribbean and Mexico locations that offer 10 international restaurants and up to 16 bars.”


5. Fermentation

Consumer demand for items like Korean kimchi and sauerkraut started in the wellness world, where nutritionists praised the good bacteria in fermented products for promoting a “healthy gut.” Boutique/lifestyle hotels and chef-driven, trendy eateries are introducing various styles of home-grown kombucha (fermented tea). These same businesses will expand their line to include more kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh and kefir — all with the focus on consuming the least processed food possible — increasing probiotics to improve the immune system.


6. Marijuana in food and drink

Big Beer and Big Soda — including Corona, Heineken-owned Lagunitas, Molson and Coca-Cola — are giving thumbs-up to pleasurably ingesting marijuana and hemp. Restaurants are tinkering with this stuff, too. Some explanation first: THC, a compound in marijuana leaves, gets you high. Cannabidiol or CBD, comes from hemp, gets you mellow and maybe relieves pain… but won’t get you high. Right now, CBD is where it’s at. Early adapters: millennials, of course. Vegans and vegetarians. Wall Streeters. And the wellness crowd that revels in mindfulness and meditation. The rest of us will follow. Hotshot mixologists are busy concocting CBD cocktails with or without booze… and chefs are assembling CBD tasting dinners and even THC-laced dishes.


7. Meat alternatives go mainstream

The meatless revolution is underway. No, it’s not just diehard vegans and vegetarians opting for meat-free eats. Eight in 10 millennials regularly consume meatless alternatives. Even more surprising, taste is the top reason that Americans are ordering more plant-based proteins. So, it’s time to swap out that premade, frozen veggie burger and up your game.

8. Increasingly global tastes

You can thank Generation Z for the rise in international food trends. To these young, adventurous eaters, international cuisine doesn’t mean conventional Italian, Mexican, or Chinese. Instead, they’re hungry for Indian, Middle Eastern and African eats. To bring these faraway flavors to your menu, look to spices first. In 2018, the North African za’atar spice was the “it” seasoning. Sprinkle it on a salad or hummus with a little olive oil. Instead of paprika sprinkled over deviled eggs or roast chicken, try sumac (one of the ingredients in the za’atar spice blend).


9. Rotisserie chicken goes bold

“Rotisserie Chicken Catches Fire.” No, we’re not talking about Costco rotisserie here (although those are pretty delicious). Restaurant chefs are putting creative twists on the classic bird: adding notice-me spices, international flavors, savory dipping sauces, and locally sourced ingredients. Think of the humble whole chicken as a blank canvas for applying the latest food trends.


10. Sustainability in food/beverage packaging

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in September that bans full-service restaurants in the state from handing out single-use plastic straws to customers — unless they ask for one. This makes California the first state to ban restaurants from automatically providing plastic straws. Some cities have already taken similar steps; Seattle also banned the use of plastic utensils. Full-service restaurants can still hand out paper or metal straws unprompted by customers. Vancouver, the first major Canadian city to ban plastic straws (effective 2019), has also adopted a ban on the distribution of polystyrene foam cups and containers next year. Vancouver also adopted restrictions on disposable cups. One alternative to the plastic straw? Straws made from pasta – some even gluten-free!


Bjorn Hanson, NYU Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality
Dawn Gillis, World Travel Holdings
Baum + Whiteman
Mintel Group LTD 
Nation’s Restaurant New