There has been unceasing clamor for luxe sensibilities that don’t break the bank. The trend is a byproduct of a more discerning younger market that has had access to global tastes via travel and social media. Premium gratification is the name of the game, as exemplified in Aperitif’s first in-mall store, offering gelato fleurs, caviar pies with gold leaf, and designer strawberries.
All of a sudden, the industry is seeing the resurgence of milk tea. Key products have evolved from just the typical tea-based beverage with tapioca pearls to more complex options. International brands, such as CoCo and Yi Fang, once again invaded the country, introducing innovations such as triple pearl add-ons, brown sugar syrup, and the cheese brulee.
DELUXE REGIONAL CUISINE
The market’s infatuation for cuisines from various provinces has allowed for these specialty dining spots to progress—no longer are they relegated to side streets and holes-in-the-wall. Restaurants like Rural Kitchen of Liliw, Laguna and Ilonggo Food Company are thriving via exquisite menu executions and well crafted branding strategies.
Food halls have since developed through streamlined curation, such as the all-Japanese Eat Yourself Bankrupt concept by the Tasteless Group. The function of a food hall has also reversed—no longer is it just an incubator for new brands—as Corner Market by the Relish Group opened up stalls for already established brands.
GRAB AND GO
Convenience has played an important role in the development of new trends and concepts in the industry. With the market yearning for products that are more accessible—affordable without inconveniences in time and travel—grab-and-go outlets, such as Shawawama and Poke Ono, have found their way to preferred listings.
Another outcome of the market’s search for convenience is a concept christened as the “grocerant.” These are establishments that function as a grocery and restaurant under one roof. Many local supermarkets are transitioning into the trend, but the well-curated All Day Supermarket has stayed one step ahead of the game.
Hotels are now developing into experiential hubs that offer holistic amenities beyond the traditional accommodation, dining, and recreation options. This involves employing good design not only in visual applications but also in over-all experiences, as embodied by Baguio’s C Boutique, Sorsogon’s Siama Hotel, and TRYP by Wyndham in Manila.
Multiple-hands dinners, ranging from the dependable two to the tense eight, allow outlets to expand the skills set of their kitchen teams. These collaborations not only serve as a great venue to innovate and push creativity beyond boundaries but also provide international access for local talents. Chef Jordy Navarra of Toyo Eatery has emerged a master of such craft.
Emotional marketing has also sprung up as a top trend in the country. Sentimental Filipinos easily give in to nostalgia and to the appeal to memory. Take for example Little Flour’s pulverized polvoron, which immediately elicits childhood memories. The reemergence of buko pie as a choice dessert is also a result of such trend.
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