Last December, we searched all over and compiled a list of 10 foodservice trends for 2011. Overall, all 10 items on our list have been successful as far as the predictions go. Take a look at the list for a quick refresher, then read below about some of the major trends that have now become mainstream.
It’s been incredible to see how the food truck has evolved this year. They’ve gone from something people were skeptical about to full-blown restaurants on wheels, serving everything from comfort foods and pizza to ethnic cuisine and desserts.
According to the Mashable infographic, “The Rise of the Social Food Truck,” almost 2.5 billion people eat street food. Food trucks heavily rely on social media, which for most is their No. 1 way to advertise. They just send out a tweet and Facebook status about where they will be and when. This gives customers the convenience of different options close to them.
What is even more fascinating is how many food trucks team up together, park near each other or event go to events together. Whether you love the food or own a truck , check out the Mobile Cuisine website for some great information on the industry.
Social Media/Mobile Ordering and Apps
While many restaurants have probably been using social media for quite some time, it seems as though this year its fully come mainstream. In Nation Restaurant News’ webinar “The State of Social Media for Restaurants,” panelist Paul Barron (founder of DigitalCoCo) said in his presentation,
“87 percent of restaurant brands have identified social media as a main force for guest connection.”
After all, according to this New York Times article, social media is the most popular way Americans spend time online.
When looking into mobile ordering and apps, restaurants are implementing tablets (i.e. the iPad) in restaurants more and more to increase customer service and productivity (note—these aren’t replacing the wait staff).
At this year’s MUFSO conference (Multi-Unit Foodservice Operator), during New York Times’ Technology Columnist David Pogue’s session, he stressed the importance of restaurants not only using social media but to start looking into smart-phone apps too. We’ve seen restaurants bring in the tablet, but having an app could be another solution to increasing productivity. Pogue did take into consideration restaurant’s fears of using social media. His response was,
“But if you use it right, there are some incredible things you can do.”
Better Nutrition and Local/Hyper-Local
This year we’ve seen huge changes with restaurants becoming healthier.
Restaurants like McDonald’s and Arby’s have changed out fries with apple slices in their kid’s meals, Darden Restaurants recently announced their goal to lower sodium and calorie counts must be posted in certain areas–just to name a few.
The food pyramid got a fresh look this year too, as the USDA released “MyPlate” which replaced the food pyramid.
Schools are definitely headed in a healthier direction with updated nutritional standards. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) gave the following statistics in this press release from their State of School Nutrition:
- 98% of American school districts offer fresh fruit and vegetables
- 97% have expanded the access of whole grains
- 89% offer salad bars or pre-packaged salads
- 98% have fat-free or 1% milk
Schools have also added many programs that work to bring in local foods. When it comes to local in general, people and restaurants are pushing more support for local farmers. Many restaurants are even taking local a step further and going hyper-local by growing their own food.
What’s In Store for 2012?
While predictions for 2012 foodservice trends are just now beginning to surface, there are a few to start watching. We may start to see more artisan and comfort foods on menus and maybe even celebrity food growers (which take it a step ahead of celebrity restaurants).
A trend that we’re already starting to notice is the “all-day” menu at restaurants that meet the demand for food at all hours of the day and night. Also, pop-up restaurants may also be on the rise. They are already starting to appear more and more, such as “Goodness,” a fashion week pop-up that provided healthy menu options.
We’ll continue to follow these and will provide our Top 10 Foodservice Trends for 2012 at the end of December. Let us know, what are you seeing? What’s been your favorite trend of 2011?