Top Restaurant Trends to Watch in 2012

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Here are some interesting statistics regarding restaurants –
  • Sixty-two percent of consumers have been cutting back on visits to casual-dining restaurants.

  • Forty seven percent of consumers want healthy restaurant options while just twenty-three percent select healthy food when dining away from home.

  • Fifty-two percent of consumers suggest that different and unique flavors influence their restaurant visits.
Technomic is a consulting and research firm that focuses on the food industry by providing proprietary studies and research based guidance. Their research has found many interesting consumer trends. Here are some of the top restaurant trends they want us to watch in 2012.  

Familiar foods with a twist – It is unlikely that many will take risks and spend their precious food dollars on untried flavors and gourmet combinations. In the casual dining setting, expect to see new, creative twists on childhood favorites like grilled cheese or updated versions of comfort foods such as mashed potatoes and meat loaf.  In the fine dining arena, you will likely see more and more gourmet versions of traditional favorites. Not only will American favorites get the gourmet treatment but  also expect to see comfort foods of other cultures as well.

Back to basics - While food costs are rising, labor costs are holding steady. At the same time, diners are interested in entrée options that focus on fresh ingredients and simple preparations. This combination allows restaurants to focus their food dollars on cheaper cuts of meat, beans, grains, and produce. Well-trained staff and chefs can then transform these basic staples into home-style favorites that will leave diners coming back for more.

Local sourcing on the rise – The focus on fresh ingredients and the impact of rising food costs makes seeking out local sourcing of ingredients almost a no-brainer. While growers and food distributors work to establish safe, efficient, and transparent supply chain, buyers may be better off seeking out local options themselves to meet their individual needs. Expect to see increased focus on locally grown food.

Social media marketing – More and more people seek out recommendations or heed warnings from friends and colleagues via social media postings. Expect to see more casual dining and fast food restaurants taking advantage of social media marketing opportunities such as checking in through Foursquare or easy reservations through services like Open Table. Social media popularity and trends can also help you find new local restaurants that you may not have been aware of but that can quickly become a 2012 favorite.

You can review the rest of the projected restaurant trends here as well as these top 10 trends  and the expected transition toward intense globally inspired combinations.

Do you use social media to give or receive restaurant information to your friends? What new trends would you like to see in 2012?