Concepts to watch this quarter include multifunctional spaces that offer more than just dining, authentic culinary experiences, and environmentally responsible food. 

New openings highlighting authenticity and cultural exploration include Aguamiel and Auld Hag, which are increasingly embracing the role of culinary ambassador, says Lumina Intelligence, offering diners authentic experiences that go beyond the palate.

Mexican churros specialist Aguamiel in Covent Garden is the latest in a series of contemporary ‘rias’ to launch in London, and exemplifies a specialised operators aligning with the growing appetite among consumers for authentic experiences and high-quality products.

Specialised operators, with their focus on specific cuisines, ingredients, or dining concepts, are well positioned to meet this demand, notes Lumina, with Auld Hag also among the street food market traders that have developed a cult following and expansive popularity leading to the opening of a permanent space.

It is expected that such street food markets and pop-ups continue to be a launch pad for new concepts as operators look to minimise operational costs.

Lumina’s Concepts to Watch report also notes the trend for multifaceted spaces and interactive dining, which are driving interest for consumers.

For example, operators including SABA and Unlock illustrate the trend of creating multifunctional spaces that offer more than just dining, and satisfy growing consumer demand for differentiation and experiential occasions.

Unlock in Hackney Wick provides a space beyond the food through exhibition evenings and the creation of a hub for the local creative community, a trend we can expect to see more of as consumers look for occasion-led experiences and operators look to draw out higher spends from customers.

Meanwhile, SABA in Kensington, a self-serve ramen bar-cum-convenience store with technology-led service showcases how operators are minimising operational costs and taking advantage of under-utilised spaces.

Lumina notes the integration of technology in the food preparation process is likely to be utilised by other fast casual brands and will continue to influence the future of foodservice.

Lumina also points out that trends towards ethical sourcing and sustainability are growing in importance.

Restaurants are increasingly emphasising the use of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and ethical approaches to protein sources, underscored by a growing consumer demand for environmentally responsible food.

 As an example, Nest in London partners with local farmers and forager, highlighting the benefits of shorter supply routes, reduced carbon emissions, and a celebration of the seasons.

Lumina expects more restaurants to increase this focus on seasonal, local and home-grown produce in the future, strengthening the connection between the kitchen, local land, and community. 

The full report is included as part of Lumina’s Food Strategy Forum membership - a solution that provides businesses within the hospitality industry with access to comprehensive insight, networking opportunities, the best innovation and dedicated analyst support. Find out more here.