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Food, cocktail, marketing trends to expect in 2015

Food, cocktail, marketing trends to expect in 2015

Consultant Andrew Freeman and his team on what's next for restaurants • See more Trends

Less formal and more fun, says Andrew Freeman, the founder of Andrew Freeman & Company, who each year releases a fun-filled manuscript of his experiences and sightings in the restaurant industry.

Chefs are “letting their passions be their guide and creating places that are an embodiment of what they love,” observes Freeman. “They’re allowing diners to let loose and feel taken care of.”

Here’s a snapshot of Freeman’s predictions in four categories—restaurants, food, cocktails and marketing.

5 restaurant trends

1) Rise of the small city
“Forget New York City and Los Angeles—think Asheville, Oakland and San Antonio. What small cities lack in hustle and bustle, they make up for in affordability, which allows for experimentation and bold choices.”

2) Chefs in residence
“Limited-run culinary residences are now de rigueur. It might be a teaser to a full-blown concept or a quick trip to a new city, either way chefs aren’t afraid to take the show on the road.”

3) The balancing act
“With living costs rising and the debate to raise the minimum wage raging, restaurants are facing a unique dilemma. With hourly employees in the kitchen and tipped staff in the front of house, how do restaurant owners maintain a quality workforce with unbalanced pay scales? We predicted the end of traditional tipping last year and this inequality might force the issue to a climax.”

4) Apron artistry
“Chefs are turning to artisans to create durable and fashionable aprons to give personality to their chef’s whites.”

5) Incubation period
“The economy is on the upswing and the demand for artisanal products continues to grow. There has never been a better time to start that cookie business, sandwich delivery service or neighborhood bistro. Culinary incubators are popping up all over the country to help these new food entrepreneurs lower the barriers to entry in this tough industry.”

5 food trends

Lobster tacos at The Blue Ox in Lynn, MA

(Continued from page 1)

1) Taco mania
“We’ve seen modern Mexican food sweep the nation, and now chefs are honing in on traditional tacos.”

2) Scrambled soft
“First it was poached then deviled, now the new ‘it’ egg is scrambled. And we’re talking way beyond breakfast. Scrambled eggs are what’s for dinner.”

3) Spice, spice baby
“These days, restaurants aren’t afraid to bring the heat. And diners aren’t afraid to accept the challenge. With the proliferation and popularity of authentic ethnic eats, there is no shortage of dishes that pack a punch.”

4) Flavor without fat
“Chefs are adding oomph to veggies with old-world cooking techniques instead of relying solely on fats to turn up the flavor.”

5) Code spread: Nduja
“It’s spicy; it’s porky; it’s spreadable. The softer, malleable texture of nduja, a Calabrian spreadable cured meat, makes it a more flexible ingredient than other salami.”

5 cocktail trends

Tequila Mockingbird cocktail at Jeff Ruby’s Carlo

(Continued from page 2)

1) Who you calling shorty?
“The solution to cocktail indecisiveness? The short cocktail. Miniature versions of full-sized cocktail offerings for those who can’t decide what to order or for those who just want to sample a few things.”

See Restaurant Hospitality's picks for the best cocktails of the year >>

2) Sorry, you can’t take it with you (except when you can)
“Bartenders tip their hats to the past and add a bit of spectacle to their presentations by incorporating flasks into the mix.”

3) Cider house rules
“The craft beer movement has paved the way for an influx of artisan ciders. On tap, in bottles and even in the can, these easy drinking, sweet-yet-tart beverages are a welcome addition to bar menus.”

4) Gin up
“Gin is the latest alcoholic beverage to have its moment in the sun.”

5) That’s quite a package
“Restaurants and wineries are getting creative and having fun with wine presentation.”

5 marketing trends

Photo: Thinkstock

(Continued from page 3)

1) Delicious on demand
“The tech boom has boiled over to the food world and its food delivery on steroids. Will these new companies find widespread success? Only time will tell.”

2) Tech crunch: Restaurant edition
“Technology continues to work its way into the restaurant world too. With pay for play reservation apps, one-touch payment and apps that make wine lists work smarter, both diners and operators reap the benefits of smartphone technology.”

3) What’s your story?
“A great story is the key to a Millennial’s heart. This savvy generation already knows about unique ingredients and the farm-to-table movement. What they want is authenticity and backstory into the places they frequent. Give them fun content that offers insight into the personalities and stories behind the restaurant and its players.”

4) Where you lead, I will follow
“Social media is no longer about talking to people; it’s about getting your advocates to talk to their friends for you. Consumers want to hear from their own friends and the people they trust, so social strategy has to ignite sharing and motivate activity.”

5) Somebody’s watching you
“These days we know more than ever about our guests—and that pool of data is only growing larger. The information is there, the key is how to access it and what to do with it. Some companies are even using the data to adjust and change their concepts.”

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