Tom Gore, food director at award-winning City of London events venue The Brewery and The Grubstreet Author discusses the rise in private dining, how companies are blending business and pleasure with a little foodie inspiration and why this form of breaking bread is so popular with millennials.
Private dining as a concept is nothing new, with the term conjuring up visions of smoky members clubs and white glove waiters for many of us. However, the changing food landscape and new demographic of diner is revolutionising the way we think about this style of eating and means it’s undergoing a real makeover.
This more secluded form of dining is experiencing a massive resurgence and appears to be another welcomed product of the ongoing foodie revolution. Whether it be corporate businesses looking to entertain clients or private parties for millennials looking for a break from the norm, private dining is emerging from clandestine corners, into the mainstream of dining culture.
Businesses have, for a long time, understood the power of breaking bread when it comes to commercial success. Food is a great connector and is one of the quickest ways to build rapport, so it makes sense that it goes hand in hand with gaining trust and forming strong working relationships.
However the booze heavy lunches of old are being replaced by genuine food focused experiences. The modern diner is more discerning than ever, meaning it takes a lot more to impress. As such, food professionals need to focus on local, sustainable food that packs a flavour punch.
This isn’t to say alcohol is out, it’s just being a little more considered and, rather than being the focal point of the meal, acts as a complement to the food. This means expert wine pairings, artisanal cocktails and mocktail options which stand their ground among their alcoholic counterparts.
As well as the professional side of private dining, more people are upgrading their dining experiences in their personal lives by bringing in an element of exclusivity. Whether it be for milestone occasions or just to get a group of friends together, the tailored element and exclusivity of private dining fits in perfectly with the desires of the modern diner and especially the millennial demographic.
Food culture in the UK is booming, so the typical restaurant dinner just won’t do for many people. We’re also seeing a trend for younger diners who are choosing to eat out less often, but when they do, they’ll go all out for an amazing experience.
It’s clear in this modern world, that consumers are seeking memorable experiences that the usual dining formats just can’t quite provide, so it stands to reason that private dining would fill the void nicely. I’m a big believer in the idea that food can drastically impact our experiences so for me, anything that makes coming together with family, friends and colleagues more of an occasion, can only be a good thing.