As we get ready to bid adieu to February, the days are getting longer and that before too long winter is going to give way to some warm weather and with it the launch of the 2019 club season. We are already working closely with our club customers to bring them our thoughts on trends that we think they will be seeing. We were very excited to shop the NAFEM show in Orlando this month. We then look forward to sharing many of those ideas with the club managers’ community at the Club Managers Show next month in Westchester.
Every year, we look forward to shopping the showrooms at 41 Madison in search of new tabletop looks for our BHS/H. Weiss customer base. This year we saw lots of new things for buffet systems including Rosseto and FOH – risers with shelving. We will be suggesting the Satin chafers from Eastern Tabletop. What we are seeing so far is a swing back to white plates. We suggest a mix of white pieces into the hand made look. Keep an eye on lots of coupe (non rimmed) plates, many with textures. The 2019 club season should also be marked by subtle patterns. Look for lots of wood, gold tones and black flatware.
Our club chefs are among the most creative culinarians in the foodservice industry. So it’s important that we look to our chefs to get a sense of where they are taking menus going into a new season. What we are seeing is clubs pushing to serve restaurant quality food in the style of restaurants. Then we suggest a separate china set for banquet with rimmed plates for banquet and coupe for “member dining”. We also are working with many of our club customers to help them with how to handle their burgers, which have grown from poolside and halfway house to a place on club dining room menus. We are suggesting some really creative boards to our club clients for their burgers.
What we are seeing in working with our club chefs is a move that keeps farm-to table as a foregone conclusion. That has now expanded to clean flavors which include the mixing of textures with offering including whipped fava beans replacing potatoes. Many of our BHS/H. Weiss clubs have embraced many of the special diet offerings including gluten free, keto, vegetarian and vegan that our club chefs have actually managed to be really appetizing to members. A fresh new approach to serving these healthier menus is our 10.5” coupe plates with some embossing – so as not to look too plain. We are helping our club clientele match that up with lots of specialty glasses.
The warmer weather will also be marked by the return of club members to outdoor dining. We are suggesting a couple of creative serving concepts for terraces, poolside and golf course halfway houses. I can’t believe how attractive many of the new melamine pieces are. In addition, as club professionals seek to avoid glass outside, plastic tumblers and wine glasses are nicer than ever. We are also working with our customers to brand many of those items with their club logos. Many of our clubs are also actively seeking ways to minimize disposable items to reduce trash.
It’s interesting trying to balance a green and sustainable solution, which has put a simple item like a straw in the cross hairs. I hate paper straws because they fall apart, but they are a necessary evil. The good news is that they are finally available with both wrapped and unwrapped options.
The new season also means an update of club cocktail menus. With that we are working with our clubs to update how they will serve their drinks. We like the use of coupe glasses, and mason jars in less formal areas. Keep an eye on colored highballs and lots of pressed and cut glass. You will continue to see lots of infused liquors. I also just had the best mango/habanero margarita and lime cucumber “gimlet”, it’s a great addition to a club menu. One of the interesting trends you can plan on this year is a move away from beer as we see real growth in tequila and rum flights and paring dinners.
At BHS/H. Weiss, we have a team of sales professionals who specialize in tabletop. Our goal is to help clients find and suggest appropriate settings for everywhere and to lend our years of experience in working with the club professionals to help you find the right look.