Americans are still gathering around the table, but it’s more likely to be a restaurant table than one in the kitchen. It’s easy to understand why: Americans are busier than ever and most don’t enjoy cooking. So much so that Americans are spending more on dining out than groceries for the first time ever, and instead feeding the nearly $800 billion restaurant industry. Restaurants know they have to serve up more than food – and are constantly evolving to cater to Americans’ taste buds and lifestyle. Take a look at the hottest trends on restaurant menus for this year, which generation is eating them up the most and what this means for our foodie culture.
Hottest Trends in Food
Each year, the National Restaurant Association publishes a “What’s Hot Culinary Forecast” listing the top 20 food trends and top 10 concept trends rated by chefs. New cuts of meat made the top of the food trend list, closely followed by street food-inspired dishes and healthful kids’ meals. Ethnic cuisines, flavors and spices have a significant presence on the food trend listing. Hyper-local sourcing (in-house restaurant grown materials, on-site beer brewing and house-made items) took the #1 concept trend spot. Fast casual concepts, natural ingredients/clean menus and environmental sustainability made the top five on the list.
These trends largely align with the dining preferences of Millennials, who are outspending more than any generation with 44% of their food dollars on eating out and eating out at least three times per week. Millennials view dining out as a way to experience global cuisine, and care about the environment and how food is sourced. Food is more than just food to this generation – it’s becoming a reflection of their identity and values – and they are shaping the food culture for everyone.
The good news is that most foodies – people who enjoy new pleasurable food experiences – don’t have to go far. Small and large cities and towns are growing their culinary communities and attracting food enthusiasts far and wide. These food meccas are landing on lists for the hottest food cities, and some cities are seeing tremendous growth. The food culture is leading other areas to reinvent the food scene and become the next great food town.
Americans Love Dining Out and Celebrating
The money Americans spend on food outside the home has been rising, and with restaurant sales growing exponentially, dining out appears to be one trend that is here to stay. With restaurant choice comes competition for customers, and many restaurants are turning to BirthdayPak, a print and digital marketing platform that brings affluent customers to restaurants in celebration of birthdays and other memorable events. For more information on how BirthdayPak can be your restaurant’s marketing partner, please visit BirthdayPak.com or call 888-544-3872.