There’s no economic rebound to prosperity, but it will continue to be a better environment than it was in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Restaurants will benefit from pent-up demand. Two out of five American adults said in a recent survey that they are not using restaurants as often as they would like.
More chains will return to the earth and emphasize real, fresh or local foods to the maximum extent that they can, given the constraints of their systems.
“Premiumization” is now a basic diner expectation, given the proliferation of upgraded, enhanced, or higher-end products at modest prices. Examples: T.G.I. Friday's new Langostino Lobster-topped entrées or Arby's medium-rare Angus beef sandwiches.
“Miniaturization,” or the continued growth of small plates, snacks and downsized portion options, which have been driven by price sensitivity, consumer interest in sampling, grazing or sharing, and health concerns.
Food trucks are replacing gourmet and specialty stores as the channel to experiment and discover new food experiences – especially when it comes to ethnic foods.
Fast casual will remain hot. The segment’s year-to-year traffic rose 6 percent for the year ended Oct. 31, and more operators are looking to capitalize on its appeal.
Consumers hesitant to spend want twists on the familiar, such as comfort foods with gourmet, ethnic artisanal or wood-fired flare, and innovative sandwiches, wraps, pizza and pasta.
The popularity of Asian cuisines will likely accelerate in 2012 as consumers become more familiar with them.
Breakfast will move beyond sandwiches. As the breakfast daypart continues to grow.
More pop-ups are on the way. For chefs, pop-ups are a way to test new dishes, let off some creative steam, expand their brand to new neighborhoods and otherwise take risks without the hefty up-front investment required for a traditional restaurant.
Another year of high fuel prices. The logistics of managing freight into distribution centers, and then on to restaurants will be one of the biggest challenges for supply chain professionals in 2012.
Fashionable Cuisine - more celebrity chefs are coming to town. Celina Tio at Julian Restaurant competeted for the Next Iron Chef and Top chef Master, planting the flag for television chefs. The Food Network’s Aaron Sanchez opened Mestizo in Park Place in November. Who is next?
Are you looking forward to trying new foods? What are some of your favorites?