The ‘Go Trend Yourself’ series kicked off with a bang on Tuesday, February 24th 2015 with a focus on key business Trends in 2015 and Food Trends in the region. For nearly two hours, a crowd of sixty engaged in a lively exchange of ideas with our two guest speakers.

Ms. Rushika Bhatia, from SME advisor, shared with us her top 10 trends for 2015. From the Internet of Things to wearable technology, she offered a sneak peek into the near future of business, and conveyed priceless advice to our aspiring entrepreneurs.

Do you feel ready to start out, but lack a business idea? Are you seeking inspiration for your next project? Trends are here to help, according to Ms. Bhatia.

Established business owners should not be the only people to care about trends; aspiring entrepreneurs can use them too. Knowing the major trends affecting your market can be an invaluable source of inspiration. In fact, this is how Travis Kalanick and Garett Camp came up with the idea for Uber. These two self-made millionaires sat together in 2008 and listed their top three business trends: at the congruence of the three, they found the idea for a crowdsourcing transportation app.

In summary, if you want to succeed in business—be on the constant lookout for trends.

Ms. Bhatia also highlighted an important distinction when talking about trends. Trends are long-term shifts in consumers’ preferences or in the way we do business. Trends are not fads, although they are by nature cyclical, and eventually smooth out. So when looking out for trends—search for lasting changes in consumption and business patterns.

Mr. David O’Brien, founder of Ghaf Kitchen, shared with us the worldwide culinary travels that eventually led him to launch his own company in Dubai. Ghaf Kitchen is a private event catering service that creates tailored outdoor scenes where fresh and sustainable dishes are served out of a vintage Citroen van. Talk of an outstanding experience! You may find more on Ghaf Kitchen in the interview Mr. O’Brien gave to Hotelier ME in September2014.

Mr. O’Brien reminded the by-then starving and drooling audience that Dubai has become an international dining hot spot, and highlighted his selection of F&B trends to look for in 2015.

It is useful to remember that food is first and foremost a social experience: in fact, 90% of a given restaurant’s customer base is made of regulars. The value of food consumption in the UAE reached AED 28.2 billion in 2014 and is expected to increase to 40.6 billion in 2018. And reputation is key: while a bad experience will be related to ten other people, a good experience will only be shared to three!

Food consumption patterns are intrinsically linked with business cycles, with people eating out during highs and cooking at home during troughs. For the next year, Mr. O’Brien foresees food trucks to keep their hype, while pop-up restaurants will continue to emerge in the F&B landscape. There is a clear drive toward local and artisan products, with sustainability remaining a reliable source of brand value. Lastly, bakeries and teashops will remain centrepiece in the city’s high life.

On this note, I will rush to the nearest bakery to satisfy a lightening croissant craving. We’ll see you soon for the next session of our Go Trend Yourself series—and in the mean time, bon appetit!

The ‘Go Trend Yourself’ series continues with our next instalment scheduled for March 24th. The theme will be for this session with will art trends.