7 Hot Restaurant Trends for 2010

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The National Restaurant Association was founded in 1919 and is the leading association for the restaurant industry.

The American Culinary Federation, Inc. was established in 1929 and is a premiere professional organization for culinarians in North America.

Recently the National Restaurant Association conducted its annual survey of more than 1,800 professional chefs who were members of the American Culinary Federation. Here are 7 hot, new restaurant trends to watch for in the coming year.

  1. Sustainability, local sourcing and nutrition - These three are expected to be the hottest culinary trends and themes in 2010. More and more restaurants will likely begin using locally grown produce as well as locally sourced meats and seafood. As I mentioned in a previous Food on the Run blog, Chipotle Mexican Grill leads the way in this trend and seems to be doing fairly well with their "food with integrity" model.
  2. Half-portions and smaller entrée portion sizes - It is exciting to think that restaurants are finally realizing that bigger is not always better. I hope they also realize more and more money literally walks out the door in the form of take out containers all day long as more and more of us become portion and nutrition conscious. More than likely, we will quickly see smaller portion sizes as well as lower entrée and meal prices that not only help our waistline but also our wallet as well as helping restaurants save money at the same time.
  3. Gluten-free and food-allergy conscious meals - With more and more individuals requiring allergen free options if they are to eat away from home, it isn't surprising to see that these made the hot trends list for the coming year.
  4. Exotic and 'super' fruits - Since reducing sodium is also an expectation for many restaurants, using more and more fruits seems like a logical trend. Fruits such as acai, goji berry, and mangosteen are possible super fruit choices we may begin seeing more of on menus as well as exotic fruits such as durian, passion fruit, dragon fruit, paw paw and guava fruits.
  5. Regional focused and ethnic cuisine - When we were in Hawaii last year, we expected and enjoyed wonderful regional focused cuisine with locally produced foods such as pineapple and Macadamia nuts. I suspect we will see more and more items appearing on menus using the locally grown and available all over the country in this same way. We may also see more specialty varieties of everyday items such as potatoes like purple, fingerling and Baby Dutch Yellow. Also, expect to see ethnic inspired items especially for breakfast cuisine like Asian-flavored syrups, chorizo scrambled eggs, or coconut milk pancakes.
  6. New alternative and inexpensive meat choices - Non-traditional fish choices such as branzino, barramundi and Arctic char will likely become more popular fish offerings. We can also expect to see newly fabricated cuts of meat such as Denver steaks, Petite Tender, and pork flat iron offered on menus in 2010 as well. Less expensive and underused cuts of meat such as beef cheek, brisket, pork shoulder and skirt steak will also likely begin headlining entrée offerings as well.
  7. Specialty beverages - Locally produced beer and wine will likely begin to make an appearance in restaurants in the coming year along with 'culinary cocktails' including savory and fresh ingredients. There will also be an increase in artisan, infused and flavored liquors and organic beers and wines. If you are more interested in non-alcoholic beverage options, watch for organic coffees and specialty-iced teas in addition to Southern or sweet tea such as Thai-style and other flavored teas.

    It is very important for restaurants to keep up with national food and beverage trends in order to develop the menu mix that patron's desire. Which of these hot trends for 2010 are most exciting for you?