by Annabelle Cloros and Aristine Dobson, Hospitality Magazine

Our friends over at Hospitality Magazine have made a number of predictions for food and beverage trends that we will see in 2023. We’ve pulled some of these trends, for the full list check out this article on the Hospitality website.

Staff appreciation

Finding and retaining staff has been an ever-present struggle for the hospitality industry — and the past two years has made it much more difficult with the lack of workers arriving in the country. Visa hold-ups are likely to continue, and the sheer number of vacancies means it’s a job hunter’s market, so operators need to offer staff more than just steady employment.

Some people thrive on late nights, but it’s important for venues to offer flexibility to staff when it comes to shifts. House Made Hospitality is an example of an employer that provides options; staff can work across the company’s prep kitchens during a standard workday if they have other commitments and can’t work nights at their venues.

However, it’s not a plausible option for all; especially concepts that only open for dinner. Instead, think about what you can offer staff to ensure they stick around — a work environment that fosters people to grow in the business is the first step. Verbally acknowledging a staff member for their achievements and letting them know when they’ve had a good service can also go a long way. Gifting them with a meal at a venue of their choice or a bottle of wine from the cellar is an incentive for people to do their best.

A sit-down family meal is essential, and goes beyond sustenance, allowing staff to express their individual style of cooking and share it with team members. It’s also a good chance for staff to develop rapport with co-workers and the management team, too.

Getting out of the kitchen is also worthwhile. Think about taking a trip to visit a supplier or find a food expert who can share their knowledge on particular ingredients or techniques. Elijah Holland from LOTI in Melbourne takes his team foraging and diving for produce that is used in the restaurant, with the excursions becoming a big part of the appeal of working at LOTI.

Inclusive drinks

The zero- and low-alc movement shows no signs of slowing down, and it’s been a long time coming for a market that has been saturated with lackluster mocktails. Thankfully, distillers and bartenders have caught up fast with the launch of products that imitate classic spirits, wines and beers that can be used and consumed in identical applications to their alcoholic counterparts.

Products such as zero-alc vodka, gin, whisky and orange liqueurs make it much easier for bartenders to add inclusive menu options that cover all the classics such as a Negroni, Italian spritz or a gin and tonic. There’s also the opportunity for bartenders to push their creative boundaries by creating drinks that hero non-alcoholic components without using liquor replacements. Bartenders can make house syrups and shrubs the focus of booze-free drinks and incorporate other products such as kombucha, sparkling water or tea to create holistic flavour profiles for guests.

Ovolo Group has honed in on its non-alc offering, with Beverage Director Andrea Gualdi (ex-Maybe Sammy) spearheading the initiative. “It’s really important for us to have non-alcoholic options because it is not just a temporary trend,” he says. “It’s really becoming its own category.”

Filling out the non-alc section of a drinks menu with soft drink, juice and water is no longer an option, and it’s essential to pay as much attention to the offering as the standard list. Much like dietary requirements, catering for all customers will make sure everyone has a positive experience at a venue.

Brand collaborations

Chefs are inherently creative people, and external opportunities can provide a welcome challenge for creatives to do something a little different. Josh Niland recently teamed up with Talisker to headline a pop-up restaurant in North Head, Sydney, that was a first-of-its-kind collaboration. Niland says the difficulty of pairing whisky with fish was the initial appeal of the partnership, which saw the chef create three dishes with a whisky pairing.

Firedoor Chef Lennox Hastie has also recently worked with a liquor brand, creating a five-course menu inspired by The Balvenie’s Single Malt collection, which included two never-before-tasted samples from the Scottish distillery. “This is the first time I have chosen to collaborate with a brand in this way,” says Hastie. “Our shared values of dedication, commitment and obsession in achieving ultimate craftsmanship is what enticed me…” The project finally came to life last month after two years of planning.

Of course, partnerships are not limited to chefs, with bartenders also getting in on the action. Dean & Nancy’s on 22 in Sydney’s CBD set an Australian record with Woodford Reserve during Old Fashioned Week with the Gold Fashioned — the country’s most expensive cocktail. The $15,000 creation was made from XO Cognac finished Baccarat Edition, gold-infused Chateau d’Yquem reduction and handmade saffron and vanilla bitters. It was served with an engraved ice cube in a hand-cut French crystal Baccarat tumbler. Seriously luxe.


Utilising technology is a must when it comes to streamlining operations in a hospitality environment. Rostering, navigating the ins and outs of bookkeeping and payroll can be a hassle for even the most efficient operators, but is made much easier by utilising apps and tech platforms that minimise stress.

In an industry with a large casual workforce and underpayment issues, it’s important to use tech to keep track of shifts to ensure staff are being paid in line with the relevant award. All-in-one platforms can also be used to train new recruits and get staff up to speed on everything from workplace health and safety protocols and venue news to responsible alcohol service practices and resources for mental health.

A smooth-running POS system is a crucial asset for any business, which is why integrated software is a must for processing customer transactions and payments as well as inventory management. The systems are continuously advancing, with many providing real-time data and reports that allow operators to remain agile in an ever-changing environment.

Streamlined systems are also useful in the kitchen, with most chefs preferring paperless platforms that can process both dine-in and takeaway orders. The platforms can also be integrated with delivery partners, ensuring any issues can be quickly rectified without impacting dine-in service.

Manual processes and outdated tech pose a risk to the viability of a venue, so it’s well worth investing in technology to ensure your business is in the best position it can be moving forward.

For more from Hospitality Magazine, subscribe to the newsletter here.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *