The micro-dining trend has been flourishing in cultures around the world for centuries. From tapas to dim sum, connoisseurs have enjoyed small plate dining similar to that of a tasting menu. More recently, social media has dictated this trend towards instant sharing and immediate gratification, pushing entrees to the bottom of the menu.
One of the reasons for many traditional restaurants to highlight small plate service on their menus is that it reduces the risk of unhappy diners. With smaller plates and shared appetizers, guests would not need to commit to a huge entree with the possibility of disappointment. Micro-dining allows everyone at the table to experience a small portion of a variety of dishes so chances are greater for diners to feel satisfied with at least one. On the other hand, smaller portions could serve as teasers, leaving pleased diners wanting more!
Shared meals also create a social and inviting atmosphere at the table. Customers often list ambiance as one of the main reasons for returning to a dining establishment. This sharing experience allows for more interaction and conversation while diners can feel like food critics nibbling on luxurious samplers.
Because the small plate menu is often chef driven, this allows for more diversity and originality for restaurants to set themselves apart from the outlet down the street. Streamlining the menu with micro-dishes could also potentially improve food quality and encourage more sourcing of unique ingredients. Menus could also be updated frequently to give diners new experiences more often.
Of course, we can’t ignore the influence of social media. Small plates are extremely photogenic. With only a few oysters, a row of sashimi or some strategically placed asparagus, influencers can easily create dazzling snapshots of near professional quality. Alluring photos and positive posts can draw in new customers looking for something different.
The growing micro-dining direction fits well with today’s popular “less is more” lifestyle. RDC can provide your foodservice establishment with designs and upgrades to meet the rapidly changing industry.