The industry’s leading professionals tell Hospitality magazine which trends they anticipate we’ll be seeing in 2020.

Expect to see a rise in highballs, collaborative cuisines and and a more casual approach to menu design.


Melissa Leong

I love the Coco Chanel-ism about looking in the mirror before you leave the house and removing one thing. This isn’t tantamount to anything lacking, rather, a more focused and concise approach to how you present yourself.

The same can be said for food, and a number of chefs who have the chops to know when to stop when it comes to conception and execution. I don’t want f**king borage flowers and 15 other elements on my breakfast plate, I want delicious food that has enough confidence to be sparing when it calls for it.

Chefs like David Moyle and Aaron Turner have led the charge for some years, but we’re seeing new blood do the hard yards and understanding how
powerful simplicity is. I have huge admiration for Alanna Sapwell at Arc Dining, Analiese Gregory at Franklin and Charley Snadden-Wilson at Etta Dining for their effortless approach to cuisine and knowing what to do to let produce sing. This is not a style you can imitate, but one that must be hard earned and therefore worthy of celebration.

Simon Arkless, Terrace Restaurant, All Saints Estate

Regional, sustainable produce is becoming critical from a diner’s perspective; I believe this will grow in the future. We raise lamb and pork on the property at All Saints Estate, and it’s fantastic to be able to showcase this on the menu. I believe food will become simpler with more emphasis on flavour than on intricate plating.

After speaking to many other chefs, sadly, I think a lot of ingredients will not appear on menus anymore due to the risk. Many chefs will stop using ingredients that people are intolerant to eg. gluten, nuts, etc.

Lennox Hastie, Firedoor


With the increased cost of proteins, I think we will continue to see a move to more vegetable-based dishes. There will also be growth in the number of restaurants buying fish, meat and vegetables pre-prepared to venue specifications, leading to efficiencies in regards to labour.

There will be an increased reliance on aquaculture due to the unsustainable nature of using a lot of wild-caught fish. In regards to meat, there will be a move towards utilising more abundant sources of protein such as kangaroo and deer as opposed to the traditional beef and lamb which are less drought-tolerant and more detrimental to
the environment.

Jeanine Bribosia, The Cru

The restaurants we represent are really trying to work with how and when their customers want to drink and dine; restaurants and bars are becoming more flexible with their usage, less draconian and uptight about how, where and when customers come and go. It’s not easy for restaurants and bars to accommodate everyone whenever they choose (and it’s expensive), but many are embracing the ‘drink and a snack’ entry point or offering reduced menus in between service times.

While some designers are still creating spaces specifically for Instagram, and some chefs are still plating up beautifully for social media, many are focusing on comfort and experience. Chefs are embracing ‘ugly delicious’ dishes that are still ’grammable, but aren’t designed to be picture perfect.

Sustainability has evolved from being just about what’s on the plate and in the glass to restaurateurs and small business owners thinking about their team and the sustainability of their work culture.

Ambrose Chiang, L’imperatrice, Hong Kong

Many domains and estates in the old and new world are in a transitional period from the previous generation to the next. New masters Alexandre Chartogne (Champagne) and Charles Lachaux (Burgundy) have spent around a decade refining and understanding their own styles and the wines are truly starting to show their work, pioneering terroir-reflective Champagne and revitalising the traditions of Burgundy.

Similarly in Australia, rising stars have become the new benchmark of their regions. Producers such as Owen Latta (Ballarat), Michael Downer (Adelaide Hills), Melanie Chester (Sutton Grange) and Angus Vinden (Hunter Valley) are setting real examples for properly made minimalistic wines with serious longevity.

In the past five years, Australian consumers have dedicated themselves to diversifying tastes — amber wines, oxidative styles, pet-nats and indigenous varieties from across the wine world. I see 2020 as the starting point of exploring the depth of some of these wines. I think there will be a higher interest in the ageing potential of natural wines. Pioneering importers, restaurants and bars hopefully kept some to allow the public to drink some back vintages of these hyped wines.

Jeremy Courmadias, Fink

HR software such as Deputy and Employment Hero will be a focus while many businesses get their house in order. Integrated IT operating systems increase efficiencies in reporting to reduce manpower and increase profitability. I also think we will see smaller tables in restaurants to squeeze in more covers like Alberto’s Lounge in Sydney.

Keat Lee, Lagoon Dining

I think we will see flavours from different cuisines coming together in a more cohesive way. For example, strange flavour dressing is made from sesame seeds that are toasted and made into a paste. The sauce also features garlic, black vinegar, soy, chilli oil, sugar and Sichuan pepper resulting in a sour, salty, sweet, nutty, hot and numbing flavour profile. It can be served with everything from cold-poached chicken to tofu, fish, chicken, pork, steamed vegetables, noodles, grilled meats, as a salad dressing, or to anything that needs a little kick or something extra!

Justin North, Concept Hospitality

In the next 12–24 months, we will continue to see more lifestyle brand hotels enter the Australian market with a strong emphasis on dynamic food and beverage concepts, focusing on a more unique offering highlighting a greater connection to the local community. A fresh approach and greater focus on the local drink and dine environment is key to realising greater potential of unlocking more revenue and providing a much more engaging and relevant offer for forward-thinking hotels. Who knows, we may even be able to get a decent coffee in a hotel one day soon …

Meena Throngkumpola, Long Chim Sydney

In 2020, I believe there’s going to be a reduction in calories for sweets, with healthier alternatives that have been sweetened from natural sources such as monk fruit. This leads to another trend I see — the snack! I think consumers have become more health-conscious and less people are following a three-meal-a-day routine.

We will see an increased interest in snacks that have ingredients that keep people fuller for longer and fit around dietary needs such as intermittent fasting and intolerances. We will see a rise in using off-cuts and scraps to ferment and create different flavours in stocks and marinades.  I previously worked for Nobu Fifty Seven in New York and they did this. With the food scrap programs in place across Sydney, I think we will start to see even more things being reused and recycled in the restaurant.

Finally, we will see a trend towards foods that are strongly guided by culture and tradition that will encourage family-style eating around the dinner table with people more
engaged in the meal.

James Hird, Icebergs group

Highballs, lager and chilled reds are all on the horizon for 2020. We will see more wine lists turning to the fridge for their next glass of wine. It’s great to see a trickle of places around town already on this, but expect this trend to snowball next year.

Highballs are coming back again. Tequila, gin whiskey and soda, etc are firming up as crowd favourites. As people move away from sugar and look to healthier options for their bar call, the highball is a trend that will dominate 2020.

Craft brewers, Lion and CUB, will release more lager-style beers in 2020. The more heavily hopped and flavoured brews will be around, but expect to see crisp, clean lagers take centre stage once more at your local pub.

Image credit: Cpga

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