Restaurant Forecast Predicts 2013 Menu Trends
Dec 6, 2012
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Commercial appliance makers do well to stay abreast of trends in food and drink menus, and in 2013 that will mean an emphasis on healthy kids menus, more local sourcing, and "culinary cocktails," according to a forecast from the National Restaurant Association.

One theme that becomes apparent from the list: food and drink establishments are increasingly buying locally and even producing ingredients in-house. Equipment suppliers may have opportunities to help make restaurant gardens and on-site liquor aging more practical and efficient operations.

The association surveyed 1,800 professional chefs, all of them members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), to find the hot trends in restaurant menus in 2013. They also surveyed 200 professional bartenders, all members of the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG), for drink menu trends for next year.

The What's Hot chef survey found these Top 10 menu trends for 2013:
* locally sourced meats and seafood
* locally grown produce
* healthful kids' meals
* environmental sustainability as a culinary theme
* children's nutrition as a culinary theme
* new cuts of meat (e.g. denver steak, pork flat iron, teres major)
* hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
* gluten-free cuisine
* sustainable seafood
* whole grain items in kids' meals

The surveyed chefs also noted technology trends in restaurants:
* 27% said iPads and other tablet computers would be the hottest technology trend in restaurants in 2013
* 25% said smartphone apps
* 19% said mobile/wireless/pay-at-the-table

The What's Hot bartender survey found these to be the Top 10 drink menu trends for 2013:
* onsite barrel-aged drinks
* food-liquor/cocktail pairings
* culinary cocktails (e.g. savory, fresh ingredients)
* micro-distilled/artisan liquor
* locally produced spirits
* locally sourced fruit/berries/produce
* beer sommeliers/cicerones
* regional signature cocktails
* beer-based cocktails
* locally produced beer

Like restaurants, drinking establishments are looking for locally sourced fruit/produce for their drinks and for locally sourced/small-batch/article spirits, wine, and beer. Local produce helps these establishments serve Culinary Cocktails, with fresh, often savory ingredients.

Bartenders' technology trends:
* 40% ranked social media marketing and loyalty programs as the hottest technology trend in 2013
* 29% tablet computers
* 14% smartphone apps

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