“Digitalisation is not replacing actual human contact with the guest in the restaurant itself”
Jan-Peter Wulf is a journalist specialising in gastronomy, blogs about gastronomy and food trends at www.nomyblog.de, holds talks for companies and organisations in the sector, and offers trend-based tours through the Berlin food scene.
Get to know interesting people over lunch: that's what the LetsLunch app is all about
The next trend: homemade nonalcoholic drinks, made from fungi, for example.
Stimuli, ideas, concepts:
Interview with industry insider Jan-Peter Wulf
I imagine that, as a culinary insider, you get to enjoy some extraordinary moments. Can you name a gastronomic or culinary experience which impressed you recently?
The best thing is actually when I get to know a restaurateur on a personal level – for example, as part of an interview – and then I get to go to their restaurant another time. Recently, for example, I profiled Max Paarlberg – the young, dynamic business man behind La Lucha in Berlin's Kreuzberg district – for a specialist magazine and then reserved a table at the restaurant privately. The experience is something else when you know the person's ideas behind the concept.
Themed restaurants, new minimalism or food to go: which new gastronomic trends are emerging at the moment?
Think of it like a crystal: at the moment, we are seeing a sparkle made up of lots of different colours. The offerings range from purely regional to Peruvian or Hawaiian, from fresh and healthy lunch concepts right through to restaurants which serve a calorific breakfast with pancakes, bacon and eggs benedict 24 hours a day. I believe that the “colour” in which a concept shines needs to be clear and obvious. In other words, we need to see USPs. With new concepts, the idea of “a little bit of everything to keep everyone happy” only works in exceptional cases.
The LetsLunch app organises meetings with interesting people during your lunch break. Where and how else will digitalisation and gastronomy meet in the future?
They will meet everywhere in the operational process! Reservations, shift scheduling, purchasing processes, cooking technology, cooling technology ... everything is becoming digital. This has a multitude of benefits. It helps to save money in terms of energy and cost of goods, and it also helps with revenue: with the data which I can generate from the table reservation and the till system, I have a better idea of who my guests are, how often they come to my restaurant, what they like. I can therefore make my entire marketing strategy more effective, map the customer journey and ultimately generate more sales – just as they have been doing in other industries for a long time now. On a side note, digitalisation is not replacing actual human contact with the guest in the restaurant itself. That human contact is actually becoming more important. We are glued to our screens all day long – the real human encounters that we experience in gastronomy are a little break from that.
And which food trends will we be able to enjoy soon?
I'm really excited by what is currently happening with homemade non-alcoholic drinks in gastronomy. The trend started with homemade lemonade. Now, restaurateurs like Sebastian Frank from Berlin's Horváth are developing exciting creations from whey, fungi or bouillon. These are used in various ways, including as accompaniments. Something a little different to the typical wine with every course!