Is fine dining really dead? - William Murray

With industry trade show Casual Dining 2018 expecting to see a record number of operators attend the annual two-day event, we thought it was a good time to put pen to paper about our view on the casualisation of dining.

Traditional fine dining is officially on the decline. Starched tablecloths and long wine lists are set to go the way of Duck a l’orange, we are told.

It’s certainly true that the explosion of the super-casual street food scene has been grabbing centre stage.

Lots of hallmarks traditionally associated with going out to eat are indeed disappearing from restaurants.

And it’s certainly the case that consumers are waking up to the idea that – these days – you can expect great quality food without going near a Michelin star.

But does that mean fine dining is dead? For us, that’s rather a glass half empty way of looking at things…

The glass half full perspective paints a rather rosier picture. A picture of a multifaceted and competitive eating out market that’s alive and well.

One which offers more choice, more variety, and more price points. And one that has consumers more interested in their food than ever before.

Will we see changes – many which could be described as casualisation – at the top end of the market? Without a doubt.

But does that mean fine dining is dead? Or merely modernising, as it finds its place in a food and drink industry that’s never been more exciting to be part of.

Food for thought.

Casual Dining takes place at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London on Wednesday 21 February and Thursday 22. If you’re going and you see us there – do pop over and say hello.

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