Restaurant & Hospitality Consultants



Vogue Asks: Are We Witnessing the Death of the 3-Course Meal?

by Candace MacDonald

Earlier this week Vogue published a story with this headline, and in our offices, we all shouted – yes!  In fairness, we’ve been calling this trend in some form for the past several years.  It started with the realization that millennials in general like this way of dining, then we realized that “vibe dining” was becoming a thing, and last year in our trend report we called out the rise of small plates and tapas.  This year, we are seeing the “death of the 3-course meal” taking the form of guests wanting to “craft their own experience.”

As brand strategists, we’re always telling clients that you can’t be everything to everybody…. but today’s guest wants to be in control of how and when they experience what your restaurant has to offer. Restaurants are giving away a bit of control and saying YES more often. Which gives guests the ability to come in for one drink at the bar, have a few dishes to share at the table or make time for an extravagant dinner.

These concepts require careful staff training and a watchful eye on check average to maintain their profitability. Service training is as important, if not more, than cost control in the kitchen.  Despite the fact that shareable is the new way to eat, every restaurant is doing this a little bit differently.  So unlike the three-course meal that had some predictability to the ordering experience, your “shareable” restaurant might require that guests order 4 plates per person and another restaurant might require 6.  Your servers’ ability to be tour guides will be critical to maintaining check average and will help ensure guests leave satisfied and feeling the value of your restaurant.

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