Tag Archives: MUFSO

2011 Foodservice Trends and 2012 Predictions

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.

Food Trucks

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.

Image from ChooseMyPlate.gov

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?

Image by Gregory Dicum on the NY Times website

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?

Central’s Week in Brief: September 30

Every Friday Central brings you stories from the week that you might have missed, but that are definitely worth a look. We’ll feature food news covering everything from the weird to the wonderful in the world of restaurants, schools, the military and more. It’s our way to help you go into the weekend with a little extra knowledge and maybe even a project or recipe to try out!

1.) Usually when you go to a baseball game, common beverage options are water, soda and beer. Well, it looks like there’s another beverage that’s become quite popular at ballparks–wine! Andrew Shipe of Aramark told the Houston Chronicle, “Five years ago, wine was mostly limited to the premium seats.  But these days, it’s more likely to be on the main concourse.” Read the full story here.

2.) When it comes to advertising, sometimes looking into your company’s archives may hold the key to success, or at least is a good shot! Wendy’s latest marketing campaign answers the 1984 question, “Where’s the beef?” by simply, well, answering it!  “Here it is!” they say.  To address it, Wendy’s has thrown in snippets of the now decades old commercial into new commercials for their line of “Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburgers.” Check out more information on the New York Times website.

3.) In the last few weeks, a listeria outbreak from cantaloupe has claimed at least 13 lives and has infected over 70 people, according to statistics from the Center for Disease control.  Then just this week, Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. has recalled 131,000 pounds of ground beef under the suspicion it may be contaminated with E. Coli.  An ABC news article reported that so far, no one has reported being ill from the beef  and the recall was voluntary.  With two major recalls, now is a good time to review standards and procedures at your restaurant. Click here to view ABC’s article, which includes tips.

4.) Is your restaurant using social media or mobile apps? At this year’s MUFSO (Multi-Unit Foodservice Operator) conference, which was held September 25-27, NY Times Columnist David Pogue stressed the importance of using these methods of communication.  He noted many restaurants are leery of social media and apps but, “if you use it right, there are some incredible things you can do.” Read the full story here from Nation’s Restaurant News.

5.) Exciting news from Central! We’ve recently rolled out our Monthly Customer Newsletter which includes the latest from our blog, foodservice news, tips, questions, a Twitter topics and more. This month’s @CRPRestaurant Twitter topic is “What is/was your favorite school food and why?” Answer it on Twitter by using the hashtag: #crplunchfaves.  Then enter in #crplunchfaves in Twitter’s search tool to see what others are saying.  Feel free to get creative and dig deep to remember some of the neat things you ate as a kid!  Also, be sure to check out the newsletter here!