International food and restaurant consultants Baum & Whiteman are out with their annual hospitality predictions for the coming year. These guys tend to push the envelope a bit with their predictions, so, keeping that in mind, here’s some of what they see in the crystal ball for restaurants and hotels in 2013.
- Bars are where the flavor action is. Artisan boozeries and ambitious bartenders are stretching the concept of hand-crafted cocktails, infusing vodka and gin—and especially rum—with house-made ingredients such as mango and kiwi, as wellas a variety of flavored syrups including honey, grenadine, vanilla, and mint.
- Soft drinks bubbling. Upscale restaurant diners can expect to see more artisan sodas made with fresh and local ingredients. Flavored water makers will be adding real juice to their beverages, and consumers will be abandoning colas in droves.
- Fast food strikes back; more dumbelling. Menu boards will be featuring higher priced options (in addition to the required posting of calories). While the dollar menu isn’t going away, we can expect to see more gourmet burgers with such toppings as guacamole, pineapple, mushrooms and crispy onions. Fancier buns and sauces, too. The term “dumbelling” refers to the efforts of quick service restaurants to promote the menu’s upscale items while keeping the dollar menu going, too.
- Snackification of America. We’re eating less at every meal, but making up for it with endless snacking. Snacks now account for one in five “eating occasions,” and the snack meals are becoming more sophisticated. We’ll see all-hours grazing across the economic spectrum and an expansion of portable foods.
- Law suits. Words like “natural,” “organic,” “artisanal” and “local” will be coming under intense scrutiny by bloggers, journalists, nutritionists, and of course lawyers. You can expect to see more litigation in 2013 as a variety of groups question claims made by food manufacturers and restaurant chains. And a watchful eye will be kept on fast food menu boards as calorie-posting requirements take effect.
You can click here to view all 17 of Baum & Whiteman’s trend predictions for 2013.
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