Again this year, restaurant and hospitality consultants Andrew Freeman & Co. published its annual list of trends for the hotel and restaurant industries. Here are their findings.
Business Boons: Hotel & Restaurant Trends
Dining Room Secrets: Don’t tell anyone but secret surprises–from off the menu signature dishes and cocktails, to inside-track incentives and exclusive invites are sneaking up in restaurant and hotels.
Mix & Match to Lift & Separate: Hotel and restaurant operators are taking advantage of strategic partnerships with everyone from beverage vendors to charities to extend outreach and share costs.
Techie-Color Dreamcoat: Restaurants and hotels are developing personalities on social networking sites and will be developing content for phone applications getting on the bandwidth wagon using email marketing, yelping, blogging, and other methods to spread the word.
Layer-On the Green: Green is not going anywhere, and what was once a trend is now the standard. Hotels and restaurants are riding the green wave by recycling, conserving energy and sourcing sustainable foods.
The Un-Uniform: Uniforms are anything but as hotels and restaurant partner with designers to develop a streamlined, consistent look, elevating the culture of the brand and giving people something to talk about.
Custom-Tailored: Hotels and restaurants will be more and more likely to comply with guest requests as loyalty becomes increasingly important and service needs to be stellar. The guest can have the side dish, wine glass size and mini-bar offerings of choice.
“Stay”ing Alive: Hotel Trends
Check In…To Check Out: Hotels grab the “bay-cation” market with special day-packages featuring fitness and spa facilities, special deals on museum and exhibits tours and culinary classes for the whole family.
LEED the Way: As corporate buildings have been slower to go green, hotels are the forefront of LEED certification – installing low flow toilets, automatic lights and decreasing water; save money and precious resources by reducing consumption.
The Spandex of Spaces: It’s a bar, it’s a lounge, it’s a café and a workspace; a social meeting room, a restaurant and even an event space – it’s the new hotel lobby.
Loyal, Loyal, Toil, & Trouble: Hotels are evaluating loyalty programs, developing creative packaging, and upping the ante on amenities to lure guests in an ever-increasing escalation of the loyalty wars.
Running Strong: Fitness concierges, organized exercise activities, wii yoga and customizable programs keep hotels at the top of their game.
The Dish on Niche: Hotels are examining guests’ predilections and proclivities to have specific recommendations or itineraries at the ready from gay clubs to swank shops or which wineries to visit.
Regress to De-Stress: In these tough economic times guests are looking for comfort and ways to relax and unwind. Hotels hit home by offering hot chocolate bars, milk and cookies at bedtime, cozy slippers and massage jets in the bath.
From Myspace to the Common Space: Hotels are creating social networking opportunities for guests with wine hours, game nights, poolside parties and social events in the common spaces.
The Rating Game: Hotels will be fighting to keep competitive in a challenging economy, expect unique incentives, special offers and price fluctuations.
Eating It Up/Drinking It Down: Restaurant & Bar Trends
Giving the Finger: Finger foods and foods you can eat with your hands proliferate as guests look for comforting, easy, and approachable menu items.
Dress It Down: New restaurants focus on a casual environment offering carafes of wine and dishes that your mother might have made in family-style settings, creating a place where guests feel at home even when they go out.
Meet Your Meat: From “Head to Tail” dinners, to whole roasted fish, eating the entire animal has become an event. Now you can meet your meat, and often the guy who raised it.
Counter Culture Revolution: Restaurants forgo tables for counter seating overlooking the kitchen. Diners like the casual option of no reservation seating and social dining and watching the chefs at work.
Uncle Sam vs. Aunt Jemima: Restaurants are constantly adopting their menu choices to keep in line with government regulations influencing cooking methods like sous vide, calorie posting, and ingredients like foie gras and trans fats.
Airport Cuisine Takes Off: Higher end dining establishments are opening outlets in airports. Now you can get a real meal before you leave the ground or a bento to go.
Sexy Lounge-erie: Flexible lounges blur the line between the dining room and the bar allowing guests a comfortable and relaxed place to drink, people watch, and order in increments as the evening progresses.
Small Is Big: Small space, short menu, hot concept! Tiny restaurants with only a few items on the menu are big news.
Shaken or Sparkling: Sparkling wine cocktails are light, refreshing, and flavorful and popping up on menus all around.
Waiter, There’s Something in my Drink: From tapioca pearls to preserved hibiscus flowers, to spherical orbs of Cointreau, cocktail garniture gets creative.
Split Personality: They say it’s a wine bar, but really it’s a restaurant – a serious one. Restaurants forgo the name for more casual monikers—it’s happening here and in Europe.
Organic and Biodynamic Beverages: Growing methods and farming practices used to be reserved to the menu but now wine lists designate sustainable selections, adding green to the list of reds and whites.
All Shook Up: Bartenders are adding egg white and shaking – hard, for frothy cocktails of yore done today. We’re flipping over these eggy delights.
Breakfast Cocktails: They may go down smooth, but they are no smoothie – these so called hangover cures can give you a buzz if you drink too many, but brunch with these benefits brings in the biz.
Field-ing Inquires: Chefs and farmers develop personal and profitable relations as chefs request custom grown vegetables and farmers unload a glut of produce for a profit when chefs find a creative use for it.
Maximize Your Assets: Restaurants are opening for additional meal periods and offering limited menus during off peak hours.
Scattered Logic: Menu items fall into an array of portion sizes and across a range of categories for a scattered approach. I’ll have a “Nibble” of olives, a “Starter” of ceviche, and a flat bread “To Share.”
Neighborhood Night: Restaurants will be reaching out to local neighborhoods with casualized weekly specials designed to draw regular guests.
Taking it to the Street: Popular restaurants take to the street, opening their own stands and redefining street food. Seoul Food
Members Only Jackets: Restaurants and bars boast an exclusive club atmosphere: reservations essential and special members only areas – they’ll even let you store your stash for your next visit.
Camp Goes Vamp: “Meatball Mondays,” “Family Nights” and other themed weekly events bring in the crowds and offer old school options and a more casual neighborhood vibe.
Is It Happier the Second Time Around?
Bars and restaurants are now offering two happy hours one early, one late.
Hot List: Food
Goat in the Dining Room
Lobster, the Other Red Meat
À La Mode: Signature Ice Creams
Meatballs of All Meats
In-House Pickles and Preserves
Ancient Grains as “New” Ingredients
Outsourced Customized Breads
Hot List: Drink
She’s a Ginger
Artisan Sodas, Tonics and Vinegars Oh My!
Absinthe, the Other “Green” Trend
The New Crop of Coffee Shop
Don’t Be Bitters
Wine of One’s Own
Spicy Spiked Drinks
A Spoonful of Agave Helps
Thanks again to Andrew Freeman & Co. for this list.