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  • Trends in hospitality & design that are HOT right now!



    Trends in hospitality & design that are HOT right now!

    Listen up peeps, 2018 is nearly over. With this is mind, we've decided to compile the top trends of 2018. If you have't rocked one of these trends yet, now is the time to get trendy. Capitalize my friends and increase revenue with these helpful tips. Most importantly, remember your target audience and the people who drive these trends - the Millennial's.

    Image above: Charlotte's Little Sister Cafe, Sydney. A small splash of colour and just the right amount of artist expression, paired with raw timber that acts as both shelving and wall feature make this cafe unique and personable.  

    Social Media Mindfulness

    In a nutshell, be instagram worthy. Create a space or food that people will want to take a photo of and share with the world. Free publicity for you and a great way to generate business and attract customers. Some hotels and restaurants even have dedicated 'selfie' areas. You want to encourage customers to photograph, post, share and like your food, cafe, hotel as much as possible. Design your space and create your food with interesting visual elements that capture and hold people's interest. Most businesses, particularly restaurants, have their own instagram and facebook pages, which are great marketing tools. Remember people don't go to a hotel for just a room, or a restaurant for just a meal - they go for an experience. They want to be entertained and mesmerized by what it is that makes your hotel/restaurant unique. So, be experience focused.

    Maybe you have fruit, flowers and plants hanging from the ceiling. Maybe you have a wall made entirely of bottle tops. Maybe your freak shakes are super freaky or your burgers are double beef, double cheese, double everything. Whatever it is, and it can be practically anything these days, make your hotel, motel, restaurant, cafe or coffee-shop unique and different.

    Technology Integration

    Stay connected or get left behind. It's no news flash that people are literally connected to their devices, all.... the.... time.... They come with us wherever we go and switched on businesses are banking on the fact that you will want the convenience of contact-less, wire-less devices. Charging stations are available in furniture, on furniture, next to furniture, wherever you might need them. The ability to charge your personal devices while you eat lunch is a major draw card. Hotels and restaurants can lure customers in with their hi-tech conveniences. Hotels now offer self check-in and programmable rooms that are controlled from your smart phone. Lights, tv, heating, cooling and music are only a finger tap away. Restaurants and cafes have digital menus, where you order and pay right at your table - no waiting in lines or waiting for a waiter/waitress to notice you. You can customize just about everything. Constant connection, it's the norm.

    And let's not get started on at home delivery. You don't even have to go to a restaurant anymore, just tap-tap-tap on your phone and your burger & fries is brought straight to your door. While the majority of restaurants still offer in-house dining, this too is becoming a thing of the past. There are now "ghost" restaurants, places where you can only order food - no dine in option. And I'm not talking just about pizza or fish & chips.

    While all of this scares some people, the majority are being swept up along with the crowd. Contact-less payments, tickets, ID as well as food and accommodation are just so conveniently easy and it's everywhere.

    Colour, Texture & Shape

    Let's talk colour. It's been back for a while now, no more all white and grey colour schemes. Earthy colours are especially popular right row- deep reds, rusty oranges, teal blues and native greens are all popular at the moment. And yes, Millennial Pink is still fashionable. Pair a colour with some natural (or natural looking) finishes and you've got a winner. All kinds of timber, stone, glass and metal are being utilized to compliment and enhance the natural, earthy vibe. For soft finishes, velvet is big - people still want a little luxe with their naturalistic themes. Recycled fabrics and fibres are also catching on in a big way - leather made from pineapple, woven grass and any type of recycled or reclaimed material you can think of.

    Let's not forget a fair amount of greenery. There's a name for it now, biophilic design -designs encompassing plants, vegetation and greenery. The health benefits have been proven and it looks great. Real plants aren't even required, prints, patterns, wallpaper, sculpture & artwork can be used to add a touch of green. Trees are planted inside, green walls and ceiling installations are bringing the outside, inside. This is a comforting sight in a mostly digital and man-made world.

    Concepts are more fluid and/or geometric. Organic and mathematical shapes or lines are used to create a visual drama is strangely harmonious. Spaces are contrasting ideas and designs that are aesthetically pleasing when paired together. The result is the creation of a new eclectic contemporary style featuring the unique, forgotten and overlooked.

    Fine Casual

    Fine dining has had its time in the sun, but there's a new kid in town and he's popular. Fine Casual is the go-to for many diners and travelers. More and more people are wanting less formality in their private and public life - this includes hospitality. Only a select few require sparkling white tablecloths, variously sized cutlery and five courses of minuscule portioned main courses.

    Restaurants and hotels are cutting back on the extravagance. Formal lobbies and receptions are slowly being phased out. In their place are functional, multi-use spaces. Staff seated behind desks and computer screens are a rare sight. Now staff are standing or walking around with tablets in their hand, helping guests to their rooms or with their luggage. The lobby is now an open plan room that doubles as a sitting room and cafe/bar. A much more approachable and relaxed environment for all.

    People are embracing the blurred boundaries of home and work, indoor and outdoor, public and private. Comfort and convenience are in style. People love casual as long as its good quality and presented well,  casual does not mean cheap and sloppy. People will gladly pay $16 for a burger and chips if its gourmet, free range or grass fed and looks like a work of art. Simple food, made with wholesome ingredients served on a slab of timber or stone.

    Image Below: New York City, Smyth Hotel’s lobby area is divided into four sections:  Living Room, Den, Library, and Evening Bar. 

    Health Focused

    Being focused on health and wellness is a gold mine right now. Never before have people been so dedicated and vocal about healthy lifestyles. We've made fitness and being healthy stylish and popular. There's designer 'active wear', yoga meditation rooms at airports and every kind of milk that isn't from a cow.

    Restaurants and cafes now offer gut-friendly food, freshly squeezed detox juices and menus that are natural, organic and ethically sourced. People are focusing on their bodies, what they put into it and how they use it. Wellness programs are accessible at hotels and workplaces. Pilates, yoga, meditation, personal trainers. We want to look after ourselves to increase our longevity, quality of life and overall happiness.

    Clean eating and living are what people want and businesses are cashing in on the health craze.

    Image above: Qantas yoga lounge

    Things to remember!

    • Don't over generalize, people like things that are different and unique
    • Target millennial's
    • Stay connected
    • Bring the outside inside with natural finishes and greenery
    • Don't shy away from colour
    • Be experience focused and social media worthy
    • Make business less formal, be a home away from home
    • Take an interest in and cater to people's health and fitness
  • The Final Straw - The Truth About Plastic Straws




    If at some point in the last week you’ve turned the TV on, listened to the radio or flicked through a newspaper I’m sure you’ve come across at least one story or article that discusses single-use plastics. They’re a hot topic of debate at the moment and they have quickly turned into public enemy number one.The humble plastic straw is one product that is currently under fire. But what’s the big deal? Surely that flimsy plastic straw that you get with every juice, smoothie and cocktail can’t be that bad, can it?Well, it turns out it can!Our use of mass plastic is a gigantic problem that has been building for some time. Plastic straws make up a significant portion of the single-use plastics that we consume each year. When you consider that billions of single-use plastic straws are used each and every day, you can begin to understand why many people are calling for a ban of plastic straws.



    What is it about plastic straws that makes them so bad for the environment? It turns out it’s a couple of things.

    Plastic straws are, by definition, made from plastic. The thing about plastic is that it never breaks down. Over time the straw that you used for 5 minutes to drink your smoothie or soft drink will separate into smaller and smaller pieces. But that straw will never completely biodegrade. This means that our environment is littered with microplastics.

    These microplastics are particularly prevalent in marine environments, and our oceans are heavily littered with an array of plastics. When you stop to consider that the Australian mainland has almost 36,000 km of coastline you can begin to understand how single-use plastics have the potential to significantly impact our way of life.

    It is estimated that 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with some form of plastic in their stomachs. Even worse, the survival rate of these animals is only 50%. These stats paint a stark image of the impact that single-use plastics, like straws, can have on the environment.

    The single-use nature of straws adds another level of environmental impact to the equation. The useful life of a straw ends as soon as one of your customers finishes their drink. The straw that was just used for 5 minutes will now sit in landfill for hundreds of years to come.

    It’s clear that there are two main problems with plastic straws. The first issue is the simple fact that they are produced from plastic. The second problem is the single-use nature of plastic straws.



    Enough of the doom and gloom. By now it’s obvious that single-use plastics are having a massive impact on our environment. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that can help tackle this problem head-on.

    The hospitality industry is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to plastic straws. Take a moment to stop and think about how many straws your venue has served to customers over the last week. When you consider that a fast food franchise serves a straw with every drink, a cafe pops a straw in every milkshake or juice, and a bar includes a straw with most cocktails, it’s easy to see how many straws get thrown out every single day.

    The good news is that, as an industry, we have the unique opportunity to start wholesale change within society. Plastic straws are a convenience that we don’t need and there are modern alternatives that can easily replace them.

    Naturally Biodegradable Strawstarget

    Straws that are made from organic materials are a great alternative to traditional plastic straws. Typically made from paper, these straws are single-use just like plastic straws. The difference is the natural materials used in manufacturing these straws are compostable and will break down easily once they are disposed of.

    Paper straws are a great starting point when making the transition away from plastic straws, but they are still single-use items with a very short usable life. Venues that are looking to wholeheartedly promote sustainability and free themselves completely from single-use products have several other alternatives they can use. You can shop our range of paper straws right here.

     Organic/Natural Strawstarget

    If only straws grew on trees. Well, they do…. kind of. Bamboo straws are gaining popularity and for good reason. Bamboo straws are made entirely from natural resources and can be reused time and time again. Both of these features make bamboo an attractive plastic-free alternative to a normal straw. The good news is that bamboo contains a naturally occurring antimicrobial agent that provides resistance to bacteria. This ensures these straws are a hygienic alternative for your patrons.

    Metal Strawstarget

    Metal straws are another great alternative option that can be reused time after time. Commonly made from 304 stainless steel, these straws are rust resistant and will serve your business well for many years to come. Thanks to the qualities of stainless steel these straws can safely be used to drink both hot and cold beverages.

    Glass Strawstarget

    For consumers that are used to plastic straws, it may seem unusual to be served a drink with a glass straw in it. But these straws have the potential to be the best alternative to single-use plastic straws. Unlike a metal straw, glass straws don’t have the potential to add a slight metallic aftertaste to drinks. Glass straws are manufactured to be robust, but care still needs to be taken when washing and storing them, just like you would with any other glass item.

    Silicone Strawstarget

    Many parents have reservations about giving their child a hard metal or glass straw due to the risk of a child biting the straw and injuring themselves. Silicone straws are ideal for young children because the soft material can be chewed without fear of breaking or causing damage.



    Getting rid of plastic straws is a big decision for any business in the hospitality industry. At first, it might appear that you need to make drastic changes to your business operations but the good news is that small changes can have a big impact.

    Several local venues that we supply have already made the switch towards a plastic-free future. Here’s how they did it. Over the past 4 months, one of these venues has seen a 90% drop in plastic straw consumption. Patrons are constantly commenting about what a great idea it is, which goes to show that consumers are fully supportive of any change a venue is willing to make.

    Top tips on how to ditch the plastic straw:

    • Many venues serve drinks with a straw included in every single order. Make a conscious decision to serve drinks without a straw. If customers ask for a straw you can give them one, but encourage them to reuse it. One a night is enough!
    • Keep plastic straws out of reach behind the bar where only staff can access them.
    • Make the switch to paper straws instead.
    • The Last Straw has some great resources for any businesses that are interested in making a positive change away from plastic straws.


    If you want to take things even further and really make an environmental statement then there is no better example than The Raw Kitchen. Every aspect of this venue has been designed and implemented in order to have the least possible impact upon the environment. Waste minimisation is an overriding ethos that has seen The Raw Kitchen remove as much plastic as possible from their kitchen and restaurant.

    All drinks at The Raw Kitchen are served with a reusable stainless steel straw. This simple act helps The Raw Kitchen to save over 20, 000 plastic straws from being thrown out each year. Imagine the positive impact that could be felt if more venues jumped on board!

    The Raw Kitchen is a shining example of ecological ethos being incorporated into the hospitality industry. We don’t expect every restaurant and venue to go to the lengths that The Raw Kitchen has, but they serve as an example of how environmental awareness is compatible with the hospitality industry. The Raw Kitchen, The Asby Bar & Bistro and The Gate Bar & Bistro all show how easily implemented changes to 'normal' protocol can help kickstart positive change.



    When push comes to shove, the decision to ditch plastic straws is going to be a case of when not if. Society is becoming increasingly conscious of the environment and for good reason. Making the decision to remove plastic straws from your hospitality venue is a small but significant decision. This simple change can help to kick-start mass societal change and will help to preserve our oceans and natural environment for years to come.

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