Giving Thanks for the Dining as an Experience Trend


In this holiday season that celebrates food and draws attention to the many wonderful reasons we can give thanks, the Nikken Foods team is particularly thankful for a growing trend that has been creating memorable and shareable moments for customers: dining as an experience.

Sure, dining has always been a social affair, but has it ever been so absolutely “social?”

According to Trip Advisor, 74% of Americans don’t get through a meal without sharing some aspect of the experience on social media. This social sharing is free press that can promote or plummet a restaurant’s standing with their community – so why not embrace it to create an experiential dining experience?

Eventbrite confirms that 75% of consumers believe unique dining experiences are worth paying a premium. Plus, 50% will pay more if it means they get to interact with the chef. Finally, 59% are more interested in menu, uniqueness and location rather than cost.

People want an extraordinary encounter across the counter.

By keeping your diners’ desires in mind as you shape these experiences, you bring your restaurant’s personality to life. In our experience, that’s something to be thankful for.

Let’s look at 5 dining as an experience trends that are about more than eating and exiting.

The experiential in-restaurant element:

Maybe it’s an instagrammable moment within the restaurant. Perhaps it’s an unimpeded view of the chef expertly preparing your meal. Possibly an impromptu performance by a professional violinist. This is about how a restaurant makes their diners feel. What experience are they designing to stimulate the senses beyond just taste?

The unexpected, can’t-miss pop up restaurant:

Restaurants and bars have found their way into customers’ hearts by delivering surprise and delight moments that are limited time affairs and must be seized or missed forever due to the sense of urgency they create. This pop up popularity has helped launch chefs, concepts and cuisines that otherwise may not have been given the time of day.

The food truck or market experience:

More than just a “grab and go” experience, this motorized dining experience drives a new kind of traffic to your neighborhood. Typically found amongst special engagements like concerts, community events and special openings, food trucks give customers a crack at a variety of cuisines in a mobile, active setting that promotes interactivity.

The local, organic food experience:

Have you ever picked the herbs and greens used by the chef who prepares your meal? New experiential dining events are all about the ingredients (we are too) and they’re putting fresh, local produce first by promoting urban agriculture to grow food and community at the same time. Patrons harvest fresh produce from local farms in a multiple course meal cooked onsite with libations and live music.

The not-so-traditional dinner and a show:

We’re not talking about jousting and revelry at a Medieval Times Dinner Theater – Now more than ever, chefs want to pair their meals with an experience that diners won’t forget. From literal shows like cirque performances amidst the dining room or celebrity chef or bartender appearances, it can be far subtler like cooking classes or wine pairings where chefs and guests intermingle.

As we enter the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. at Nikken Foods, we’re most thankful for all our customers and, of course, the wonderful employees who serve them every day. If we can help you better serve those you love this holiday season, we’d be wholeheartedly thankful for the opportunity.

Contact Nikken Foods today.