Tuesday, November 26, 2013

10 Restaurant Trends for the Next Year

Each year, there are always hot items that emerge in the food and beverage industry. Usually our industry breaks things down even further and offers up top 10 items under catergories such as whiskey, craft brews, red wines, desserts and even bar snacks. Most of the time, only 2 or 3 of those "future stars" ever make a big enough impact to stick on most industry menus.

But this top 10 list, published by Technomic, is one that I found very interesting. It doesn't concentrate so much on individual items or individual flavors. It concentrates more of their list to a broad definition of what consumers will be looking for within restaurants and on menus as we head into 2014.

Technomic is a research firm that gathers its information from extensive site visits, interviews, surveys, data and more. They study quick-service restaurants all the way to fine-dining independents and they seem to have a real good temperature of the average consumer.

This year's top 10 list's most interesting trends are as follows: 

#1 Convince Me It's Real - I was happy to see this make the list, because I think many places get away with loosely preparing or describing some of their dishes. They may bend the truth a little. Now, we don't declare to be any one authentic type of restaurant.  We prepare dishes from all over the place and don't stick to one type of cuisine. But we can assure you that our food is real, and it's prepared as authentically as possible. Bottom line, your dish wasn't put in the microwave for 5 minutes and dumped on your plate out of a plastic bag. Trust us, it's real!

#2 and #3 The Return of Proteins and Carbs - I like this trend, because I hate the no carb diet... just something I've never liked. I mean, how can you have a sandwich without the bun? It just doesn't make any sense.

This trend is also interesting because you don't always have to have an entree as your main course when you dine out. You can enjoy your evening by enjoying a few smaller portions but also hitting some of the major food groups. Get your protein from an interesting side of beans or a duck appetizer. Then "carb up" with a delicious side of and interesting rice blend.  Enjoy the fresh breads in the table's bread basket, and don't be afraid to eat the entire bowl of pasta.

The options here are endless, and I do think that many places are trending toward offering more options within their appetizer and side choice menus. So don't be afraid to go off the grid one night... apps and sides can make a full meal!

#10 Everything is Political - We may have already entered this trend a few years ago as our newsletter opened up this avenue. The hard part about this trend is that not everyone thinks the same, and often, when you don't think the same as someone else, you have a strong chance of offending them, thus alienating them as a customer.

Like many businesses, every political issue is a big issue. There are very few laws that we don't have to pay attention to because they can affect our business, our employees, and the prices we have to charge our customers. We feel the need to relate these issues into every day real life. We will probably continue to do that in 2014, for better or worse. Hopefully others will follow. Sometimes the best and worst theories just don't work in a real world application.

These are just a sampling of my favorite highlights.  You can view the entire top 10 list here.

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