As the general manager of one of Jacksonville Beach’s most sought-after restaurants, Keith Doherty understands what it takes to attract modern diners. Opening  Lynch’s Irish Pub in Jacksonville Beach in 1994, Doherty has experienced the shift in food culture firsthand. As the media continues to produce more shows about chefs and tourism, travelers have changed the way they prioritize their traveling agendas. Today, Doherty will shed light on why food is driving the tourism industry in America. 

How the Local Food Scene Benefitted from the Foodie Trend

Lynch’s Irish Pub has always looked to stand out from the pack by offering great food, unique drinks, and incredible entertainment. The combination of these factors, along with a friendly staff, has allowed the pub to grow with the Jacksonville Beach community. The area has plenty of loyal local diners, but a lot of restaurants live and die with the ability to attract tourists. 

Competing for the attention of travelers is different than it used to be. The modern tourist puts more of a prioritization on experiencing local culture, and a lot of culture ties directly into the food industry. The popularity of traveling cooking shows has grabbed the curiosity of many travelers.
Diners not only want to enjoy a great meal; they want to enjoy a memorable experience. The reason a lot of traveling cooking shows are so popular is that they open a window into local communities. Viewers not only get to learn where locals love to eat but the backstories of the incredible workers in the food industry. It is natural to look to support those who have dedicated their lives to honing their culinary craft. 

Authenticity is essential. And modern travelers are showing more interest in supporting local restaurants as opposed to the massive chains that line the highways. Foodie culture has helped support chefs who are willing to prepare fresh, local ingredients and avoid the frozen food section.

Lynch Irish Pub Beer Lynch Irish Pub Beer Photo: Adobe stock

Of course, traveler spending is contingent on the economy. Growing affluence among the population helps everyone in the restaurant industry. However, there will always be options of where to spend that extra cash. Restaurants need to separate themselves by appealing to what makes different groups seek out an establishment. For instance, Lynch’s Irish Pub of Jacksonville Beach has noticed this with beer aficionados. A regular brand-name beer that advertises during local sporting events is fine for most, but those with a passion for beer will travel far and wide for a pint from local breweries. There is a growing trend of beer lovers traveling simply to get their hands on local IPA’s. Restaurants that can pair local beers with awesome ambiance and delicious meals put themselves in a position to attract more customers.

Food Tourism: How To Stand Out From the Crowd

The food tourism industry has seen growth amongst all demographics. In addition to appealing to niche audiences like beer lovers, restaurants are all competing to appeal to different age ranges and ethnicities. Establishments that can appeal to different age groups put themselves in a position to attract families on their vacations. 

Restaurants are adjusting to meet the demands of the food travelers by offering specials that appeal to those with different tastes. This can be done through menu items, but it can also be done through varying entertainment options.  

A lot of local restaurants will serve the food the town is most known for. Maybe the most popular example of this is in Philadelphia where people from around the globe will come to experience the taste of an authentic Philly cheesesteak. However, enthusiasts of foodie culture like to explore the best versions of different foods in all areas. After all, if all the restaurants in Philadelphia stuck to cheesesteaks, it would get unhealthy and boring fast. 

Lynch’s Irish Pub in Jacksonville Beach is an iconic destination because it offers a genuine Irish pub dining experience in the heart of Jacksonville Beach. Offering something unique to a given area is a great way to appeal to the curiosity and the excitement of the modern foodie.
Globalization has made the world a much smaller place in many ways – with the food industry being no exception. Representation truly has an impact on changing perceptions about different food groups. Traveling food shows and movies that spotlight different foods help people look at the culinary world from a different perspective. A show that covers barbecue in Texas is instantly going to cause craving and leave a viewer wondering how different that dining experience is from their local barbecue establishment. The same can be said about every food group and it is why more and more towns are seeing restaurants that serve foods from around the world. Finding the best Irish, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, or any other style restaurant in each area is a challenge travelers love.
Becoming a destination for food lovers is a great way for towns to compete with the titans of the tourism industry. One of the most famous examples of an area’s economy blossoming due to food travelers can be seen in Ludlow in the United Kingdom. The area gained fame through different media outlets for their farmers' markets, festivals, and Michelin star restaurants. As word started to spread, people from around the world came to experience all that Ludlow had to offer.
Today, cities in every region of the world are looking to replicate the success of Ludlow. Not every town can go about attracting more foodies the same way, however, the following tips can work for most:
·    Providing a particular food product better than other regional destinations.
·    Promoting food and drink as a crucial component of their tourism product.
·    Inviting food influencers to review their cuisine.
·    Spreading their story on social media.
The role of food and drink in the tourism industry has never been greater. Generating a buzz can be as simple as having just the right food influencer provide a positive review on their blog. User-feedback is driving the success of most local food establishments. It's why restaurants are committed to generating positive reviews and ensuring that when travelers come to the area, their restaurant is appearing favorably within the search engines.