dcsimg

Restaurant & Food Industry Trends | The Future of Restaurants

by Jim Sloan
CulinaryEd Columnist
April 18, 2013

The Future of Restaurants

You don't have to drive far from any town in the U.S. before you start seeing the roadside produce stands and signs for "fresh eggs." More and more, people are growing or raising their own food, and new restaurant trends are reflecting that. When people are dining out, they like to see that the food on the menu comes from nearby sources. One of the greatest restaurant industry trend these days will be restaurants trying to meet their customers' expectations by featuring locally sourced meats, seafood and produce. One component of these restaurant trends will be assuring diners that those foods are organic and free of genetic engineering.

That's the conclusion of recent studies examining the top restaurant trends for 2013. Studies show that other major food trends include an increasing demand among diners for gluten-free foods, healthier foods -- such as "super fruits" acai, goji berry and mangosteen -- and healthier kids' menus that include whole-grain items and fruit or vegetable side dishes. For the young ones, deep-fried chicken strips and fries are being replaced with oven-baked chicken fingers and potato wedges.

Many of the same trends are showing up in lounges and bars, as customers show an interest in fresh, new flavors made from local fruits, herbs and vegetables. To meet that demand, bartenders are infusing vodka and gin with kiwi and mango and mixing cocktails with pureed melons and various types of exotic syrups. Some restaurants are making their own sodas and lemonades from fresh, local ingredients.

How restaurateurs can adjust to the future

These trends are coming at a time when diners are still watching their expenses, which poses a real challenge for restaurateurs. Local and organic products typically cost more than the alternative, and the supply is sometimes unreliable. Nevertheless, customers appreciate seeing the name of local farms and suppliers showing up on their menus, so that's something for restaurateurs to keep in mind. Many chefs and restaurant managers will see benefits from including a list of gluten-free menu items -- or even a separate menu altogether.

Rise of cost-conscious customers

According to the National Restaurant Consultants, the drought of 2012, which is driving up prices on beef and many other foods, and cost-conscious diners, who are still recovering from the recession, will force restaurant managers to update their menus more frequently. This restaurant industry trend will allow restaurant managers to take advantage of specials offered by their suppliers as well as the seasonal availability of local products.

A dynamic menu also lets restaurants address the restaurant industry trend of consumers being drawn to more exotic flavors. According to the National Restaurant Association, the hot new ethnic cuisines will be Peruvian, Korean, Malaysian and Vietnamese food.

The emergence of 'fast-cas'

According to restaurant consulting firm Baum+Whiteman, one of the most important food trends in the future of restaurants is the emergence of "fast-cas" establishments. Budget-minded diners in 2013 are more likely to pass up full-service restaurants in favor of "fast-casual" places where customers step up to the counter, order their food and watch it prepared in front of them, the way it's done at Chipotle. As a result, many restaurant chains -- including Red Robin, Denny's and IHOP -- are embracing this restaurant industry trend with "fast-cas" approaches.

Baum+Whiteman advise their clients entering the fast-cas market to not only embrace diners' desire for local products and exotic, new ethnic flavors but also to establish a personal connection with diners by supporting recycling or energy conservation or other social issues that their customers support. As always, the best way for restaurants to stay abreast of or ahead of trends in dining is to listen to their customers: What kind of special preparations or flavors or products are they asking for, and how can restaurants meet those expectations within the price range their customers are comfortable with?

Sources:

National Restaurant Consultants, "Top Trends for 2013," 2013, http://nationalrestaurantconsultants.com/top-trends-for-2013-2/
National Restaurant Association, "What's Hot in 2013," 2013, http://www.restaurant.org/News-Research/Research/What-s-Hot
Baum+Whiteman, "17 Hottest Food And Dining Trends For Restaurants & Hotels, 2013," www.baumwhiteman.com/2013trends.pdf



About the Author

Jim Sloan is a freelance writer in Reno, Nev.

Culinary Art Schools
Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            Culinary Management (BS)
            • Program areas include Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, and more
            • Students are taught cooking styles from around the globe, including Classical European, Asian, and Latin cuisine
            • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career as a chef, with course topics that include Culinary Techniques, Management by Menu, and Nutrition
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Professional Pastry Arts
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            Baking and Pastry Specialist
            Good for Working Adults
            • A part of the Select Education Group (SEG).
            • Offers several scholarship and financial aid opportunities for students who qualify.
            • California campuses accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), and accreditation for the Salem campus from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).
            • 4 Campuses located in Clovis, Modesto, and Redding in California, and Salem, Oregon.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Search Schools Near You
            Subject :
            Degree :
            Zip Code :

            Culinary Schools
            Culinary Articles
            10 Colleges with Delicious Dining Hall Food
            Forget boring college cafeteria dining. Campus food can be exciting, healthy and delicious. Here's a look at 10 of America's best colleges to get your grub on.
            Four International Cuisines Influencing the American Foodscape
            Ethnic cuisines are an integral part of America's culinary landscape, and none more so than these perennial favorites.
            5 Ethnic Cuisines for Serious Foodies
            Love food? Want to broaden your culinary horizons? These five international cuisines provide an excellent starting place.
            Healthy home cooked meals can improve health, longevity and family social community
            Read how cooking at home rather than eating out can help you live longer, reduce the risk of cancer and improve family dynamics. Not only has cooking at home become the hip choice, it's also become the smart choice.