10 Foodservice Trends for 2011

Within days we will say goodbye to another year and will welcome a new one. In 2010, there were many new foodservice trends; Gourmet-on-the-Go, “Fine Fast” Sandwich Shops, Boutique Booze and Eggs All Day are just a few of the trends mentioned in a Convenience Store News article. While many of the trends that began this year will continue on, many new ones are on the rise.  Here is a look at what some sources are reporting for the New Year.

1.      Food Trucks

In a Foodservice Equipment and Supplies (FES) article on upcoming trends, they bring up the food truck. We’ve seen and/or heard about them and they have even made headlines in Chicago for banning them. More food trucks may begin to appear in 2011—and what makes them different than in the past according to the article is the fact they are being used as “brand extensions and catering aids.”

2.      New Cuts of Meat

“Newly fabricated cuts of meat” is an upcoming trend described by Missy Frederick of the Washing Business Journal. She asks, “Have you heard of a Denver steak? The pork flat iron, the Petite Tender?” These are what chefs are saying will be a hot trend for the upcoming year. While these will become more popular, it will be interesting to see if there is any downfall when new guidelines go into effect Jan. 1, 2012, making it mandatory for there to be labels on raw meat and poultry.

3.      Hyper-Local

Buying from local business has been increasing in popularity over the past few years. Some restaurants are taking local to an even further level—they are growing their own products and doing their own butchering. In another article by Frederick, she discusses this trend and says places like Restaurant Eve and Bourbon Steak are already being hyper-local and more restaurants may move this way in the New Year.

4.      Social Media

Social media has been on the rise for quite some time and its popularity is as high as it’s ever been—especially for businesses and restaurants.  In the Harvard Business Review, they say 2011 “will be the year these companies take a look at integrating social media, not only regionally, but globally.” Many different news sources are pointing out the importance of social media, and we might see it being such an important marketing tool for 2011 that some of those who aren’t using it might be missing out.

5.      Sophisticated K-12 Cafeterias

This is what is titled in FES’s “Top Design Trends for 2011.” Currently, many college campus cafeterias have the open food court with several different food concepts and registers scattered throughout. According to this article, grade, middle and high school cafeterias might move in this direction.  This could possibly work hand in hand with the fight against childhood obesity as more concepts would provide children with more variety in healthier choices.

6.      Better Nutrition

We have reported on health and nutrition in our blog and it’s been heavily covered in news articles all around the country.  Many different news sites are discussing 2011 being a year of healthier food trends—not only for schools but also restaurants and fast food chains.

7.      Alcoholic Beverages

A recent Nation’s Restaurant News article says alcoholic beverage sales will increase next year.  This ranges from people entertaining guests at home and also in restaurants. FES mentions this in an article and says “’Mad-Men’ style retro cocktails, high-cachet gin and bourbon, craft beers and punch (including sangria)” will be on the rise.

8.      Mom and Pop Shops

While these could have some competition with those food trucks we just mentioned, Restaurant Hospitality says we will see more “mom and pop” shops popping up. They describe these as “self-financed and self-built restaurants” that usually have 40 or less seating arrangements. They say if someone is pondering the idea to open up a shop like this, now is the time to do it.

9.      Online and Mobile Ordering and Applications

If you can order a pizza through a text on your phone, just imagine what will be available in years to come. Not too long ago, we reported on digital menus! So there is a growing trend of technology in the industry.  Technology gives customers more control—and they like that feeling. But it’s not just online/mobile ordering that will be on the rise, it will be a variety of applications.  For instance, on the Sacramento Bee’s hot food trends for 2011, they’ve put down the “iPad wine lists.”  They say the New York Times found Bone’s wine sales increased 11 percent just two weeks after they rolled out their wine list on the iPad. It looks as though the mobile trend will continue to grow and make things quicker and more convenient for customers.

10.  Korean Food

Mexican and Chinese are two of the many types of popular ethnic cuisine in America and many top trend lists are pointing that Korean food will join in for 2011. This will range from food trucks, street food and restaurants.

There are many lists for 2011 trends for the foodservice industry. It will be interesting to see which trends make it and which ones don’t. We’ll follow up on these to see what rises in popularity.

Everyone at Central wishes you and yours a very safe and happy 2011.

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