Soul Food

 
 

Food and dining choices are no longer just about what you fancy to eat, with social consciousness proving to be an increasingly influential factor affecting our choices.

 
 
Darjeeling Credited image.jpg
 
 

The sustainability agenda has become a huge influencer over the last 2 years.  ‘Zero Waste’ was a fashionable slogan for hot new restaurants of 2017 with a subsequent war on plastic dominating the headlines this year.  Wider consciousness is a natural progression of this, adding further substance and identity to the brands of the future.   

Social consciousness simply means diners considering human as well as environmental impacts in their eating out choices.  In an increasingly busy society, keeping a clean conscious with the feeling of giving something back whilst you check out the latest restaurant is incredibly appealing.

At Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, Imad Alarnab; a former refugee from Syria, has been raising money for refugees through his sell out ‘Choose Love’ supper clubs.  His vision is to extend this with a permanent site which will offer free meals to anybody who doesn’t have the money to eat out at a more permanent base.  The Old Spike Roastery, which began in Peckham Rye, aims to tackle homelessness in the UK.  As well as roasting and serving great coffee, they provide expert training, jobs and housing support through their coffee sales.  Their success has been underpinned by the successful opening of their first restaurant; the Coal Rooms.

The drive towards sustainable and conscious choices is led by the much-discussed Millennial and Generation Z demogroups. Their characteristics show they favour conserving the environment and quality of life over their own material gain, placing little value on accumulating wealth and status symbols.  They are charitable and favour a work/life balance over being home owners and are incredibly conscious of their actions and trying to generate a wider benefit through them. 

These demogroups have also been driving the eating out market over the last couple of years as they eat out frequently and dedicate a higher proportion of their disposable income to doing so than other demographic groups.  As a result, they have important spending power.

Over in Kingly Court Asma Khan’s Darjeeling Express dedicates a percentage of the profits made from the restaurant to the ‘Second Daughters Fund’; a charity which has significant empathy from modern women.  The Fund sends Celebration packages and ongoing educational support to ‘Second Daughters’ in India; the women whose births are mourned instead of celebrated because of their gender.  These innocent girls carry this hurt and disadvantage around with them for the rest of their upbringings.  Contributing to such a cause as well as eating some of the best Indian food in Central London gives savvy diners little to think about.

In an increasingly competitive restaurant market that is facing the most challenging trading conditions for a number of years, it is hard to stand out.  In the current economic backdrop people are feeling the pinch, so enabling diners to feel good about themselves while spending hard earned cash is proving to be an incredibly powerful and sustainable model.  Food shouldn’t cost the earth, but it should be good for the soul.

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