#2 Food Trend for 2010: Experimentation Nation

#2 Food Trend for 2010: Experimentation Nation

Food & Drink

#2 Food Trend for 2010: Experimentation Nation

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This is one of The Food Channel’s Top 10 Food Trends for 2010, based on research conducted in conjunction with CultureWaves® and the International Food Futurists®. For the full list, check here.

Experimentation Nation
When’s the last time you sat down to fine dining at a taco truck? If you live in L.A., chances are you’ve at least given it a try (Kimchee quesadilla, anyone?). How about selecting your own wine by the glass after sampling a few from an Enomatic system, the way you can at Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria? Or, you sit down at a restaurant like Avec in Chicago and the complete stranger sitting next to you offers a sample of his focaccia with taleggio cheese, truffle oil and fresh herbs.

Restaurant concepts are in flux as people redefine what going ‘out’ to eat means. Gastropubs, fusion dining, shareables, and communal tables are all being tried. While this started because of the economy it will finish because consumers will indicate what works for them and what doesn’t. New concepts around ‘fresh’ and DIY will do well—what started as omelet stations in hotels are going to be extended to more involvement and choice in freshly cooked foods. You may even see restaurants that eliminate the server in lieu of a redefined self-serve (of course, food safety is a primary motivator in whether this will work or not).

The restaurant chains are losing ground in an over-saturated market, and we expect a market correction. We’re beginning to see some creativity, like the building that is a breakfast restaurant by day, and an Italian bistro by night. Sure, it’s a bit complicated, but the idea of fully utilizing space, sharing rent and utilities, and even sharing advertising . . . you have to admit that’s pretty innovative.

Restaurants that bring excitement to family dining will show gains, particularly because the ‘family’ we go out to eat with may, or may not, be actual family. Who you are eating with is going to be more important than what you are eating. Experimentation is the trend, so we’ll see some concepts come and go. Here’s a tip: If you want to know which restaurants are in trouble, visit their restrooms. It’s usually the first sign of neglect.

For evidence, read:
Making Fried Chicken Chic Again
Stand Up Bars a Rising Trend
KFC Launches First Ever Float Thru Location
PF Chang’s Loans Millions to Fledgling Wellness Restaurant Concept
Grasshoppers a Specialty at Phoenix Restaurant
Selling Fresh Veggies Like the Ice Cream Man
New Combo: Fast Food and Fine Wine
Popcornsicle Debuts at Taste of Chicago
A Shocking New Taste Experience

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