This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

September 7, 1999

Look Who's Coming to Dinner

115 days until January 1, 2000

Homes will become enclaves, almost fortresses, as people seek home/work balance and a degree of privacy. More attention will be devoted to children, to family activities. The beginning stages of this trend will be an apparent return to family togetherness and more involvement with the extended family.

In days gone by, families got together for holidays and reunions. Large numbers of people would gather at one home to celebrate. Pot luck suppers and everybody-bring-something picnics were standard practice. While many families continue to assemble for special occasions, the proportion of the population doing so has shrunk.

The cycle is changing. We're beginning to see more families strengthening their bonds with everybody-come events. Homes are becoming more family-friendly, with entertainment of guests an important part of life.

This home-as-entertainment-of-guests trend will extend to neighbors as we rediscover the values of neighborliness. Neighborhood picnics and barbecues will return, followed by formal and informal dinner parties. The more formal events, a step beyond paper plates, will not become overly formal. Informal dress, décor, preparations, and relationships will be the norm for the years ahead.

The fancier dinner events will include tablecloths and an opportunity to use the nice dishes and flatware. The food preparation and service may be assigned to outside caterers who will oversee the entire event to be sure everything runs smoothly. Groups of 8-12 diners will be served in the home by catering staff, creating a restaurant-like experience with a welcome-to- our-home ambiance. Yes, this trend will be a big boost to catering services, particularly those that can operate effectively and efficiently in their customers' homes. Note that this practice will not be limited to wealthy people with homes that were designed to handle large parties.

Watch for architects, builders, and decorators to create multi-purpose room environments in residences that can comfortably support a dinner party, table games, and other hosting of guests. People will reach out for others to establish and expand friendships, but will focus on more of the interaction being done in home environments.

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