There's an astonishing amount of jargon in the catering world - from "the Rash" to "the Robo", everyone uses slang or abbreviations to describe parts of the kitchen or processes - but have you ever heard of "premiumised informality"?
Premiumised informality is a relatively recent term that has been swilling around the catering world for a couple of years now. The main concept about it is that habits of diners may slowly be changing and that more informal, casual dining is becoming much more popular, whilst still expecting top-notch service and quality.
That doesn't mean people are turning away from fine dining - quite the opposite, as high quality food and service is still immensely popular. However, as people's finances are being squeezed and disposable income is becoming more pressured, that doesn't mean they don't want premium, restaurant quality food. In some circumstances, customers are expecting fine dining quality food in a more informal, dress-code free setting - hence the term, "premiumised informality".
Pub grub has always been incredibly popular and the traditional sausage & mash is being replaced with more premium options, such as hand made rare breed pork sausages and organic sweet potato mash. There are plenty of ways to introduce a little premiumised informality to your business, both in terms of your front and back of house. For front of house, simple changes such as premium natural slate trays or high quality 18/10 cutlery can help to add value to your dishes. It's certainly worth considering what options you have in your front of house - sometimes simply adding a spruce of colour on your tablecloths or providing new uniform to your waiting staff can make all the difference.
Remember that the quality of the food is essential, so for back of house there's some really easy ways to preserve food and retain its quality and taste for longer. For example, using one of the new countertop Polar Blast Chillers or a Buffalo Professional Vacuum Packing machine not only helps to hygienically store food for longer, but also allows other interesting cooking methods such as sous vide. Also currently trending in food is the immensely popular pulled pork and pulled chicken. Adding a high quality commercial cook and hold oven to your kitchen would not only provide yet more options to your menu, but would also save energy and running costs at the same time.
There will always be exceptions to the above. Some customers will be perfectly happy to eat their gourmet burger from a standard foam burger box, whilst others will only have their hand made poached pear brioche with creme Anglaise when it's served on the finest of Royal bone china.
In summary, it's important to remember that diners expectations are changing over time and that with recent trends as they are, premiumised informality looks to be here to stay for the foreseeable future. Whether you run a Michelin star restaurant or a street food stall, the Nisbets range of commercial catering equipment is certain to contain products that will compliment your menu.
By David Evans