One of the most informative presentations at last week’s AGE came from Suzee Brain, Total Food Guru and Director at Food Consultancy, Brain & Poulter.

Suzee spoke at the Tabcorp Big Breakfast and presented the Food Trends that will affect Pubs and Clubs over the next 2-3 years.  There were some surprising revelations.

As an industry, we all recognise that food is a prime driver. It is the main reason people give for visiting a club, and that looks like continuing for some time to come.

Dining out is still a growing business in Australia but is currently being driven by Cafes, Restaurants and Fast Food outlets. Pubs and Clubs seem to be missing the boat when it comes to keeping up with trends.

For example, 58% of the Millennial market dine out. Gen Z come in at 46% and Gen X 44% yet the Boomers (29%) and Senior Markets (26%) – are the demographics that the Club industry in particular seems to focus on.

Suzee went on to highlight the 5 Mega Trends for Food.

  1. Healthy or perceived healthy options

Even if the food is not all that healthy, it needs to be perceived to be healthy. Free range, chemical free, locally sourced are all important in transparency and authentication of the product. She says the paddock to plate movement is over and people are looking for alternative protein sources with the “Wings to Stings” (insects) faction on the rise.

  1. Snackification

Smaller meals more often, share platters, finger food and one-handed dining continues to grow. Traditional eating patterns are changing with millennials consuming up to five smaller meals a day rather than the traditional three.  Brunch is the fastest growing meal type – yet few clubs and pubs have gotten on that bandwagon.

  1. Landlord Thinking

Suzee says we are seeing the death of the traditional dining room. Venues need to look at multi-cuisine, multi-price and even multi operators. Consider pop-ups and look at pub food that trades like street food.  Venues need to use their real estate assets better and think like a landlord.

  1. Zero Waste

Sustainability is all important and there is a strong movement towards zero waste when it comes to food. Consider teaming with companies like Oz Harvest and/or invest in a kitchen garden if space allows.

  1. Placemaking

Clubs and pubs are the “churches” or gathering places of their communities, but they need to give customers a reason to come. Some of those reasons could be:

  • Kids play areas
  • Adult play zones
  • Variety of seating zones in the same space
  • Retail opportunities
  • Beauty – hairdressers, spa etc
  • Connected – Wi-Fi, charging stations, spaces people can come and work on their computers or meet.
  • Community Connected – take your F&B outside of the four walls and have a street presence like drive throughs, kiosks etc.
  • Authenticity – venues need to be authentic in the way they describe food and the way they deliver it. Your food has to be what it claims to be.
  • Rooftop – outdoor dining spaces, rooftops with a view
  • Theatre – excite and entertain the customers with open kitchens, creative cocktails or dessert trolleys etc.


About Suzee Brain
Suzee has a stunning track record of both owning and managing super successful food operations.  Suzee held her first senior management role before she turned 21 and worked in senior management roles in hotel and commercial catering until she was 30 when she started her own café chain. She teamed up with Kate Poulter to create Brain & Poulter which has become Australasia’s No. 1 food retail consultant. They provide innovative strategies to grow property assets for a range of retails centres like Westfield and Stockland, Government and educational institutions and property management professionals.