If you’ve been to Sonny’s or Mimi’s Café lately you may have noticed that they’ve been changing up their menu, but they’re not the only ones actually, because as 2015 comes around, restaurants and bars are thinking about how to better serve customers in the coming year. It’s never easy when it comes to predicting food trends, but the general consensus among experts is that some old trends will continue but new concepts will arise as well.
Social Media Integration
Yes, social media is everywhere, including restaurants, bars and diners. These days people post what they eat and where they eat on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, so expect restaurants to make these meals more appealing and media friendly. This isn’t just about appealing to the young crowd, as it’s just as much about clever marketing.
As anyone who’s spent time online will tell you, it doesn’t take a lot to generate publicity online, good or bad, so expect your meals for next year to be more social media ready.
Small Is In
The latter stages of 2014 saw a trend towards smaller menus, smaller and cozier diners and in many cases even smaller food orders or bite sized treats. This trend is expected to continue in 2015, and this doesn’t just apply to the food or the menu but the restaurants too. In short, restaurants next year will have leaner staff as many of the chores and tasks will be taken over by technology. This doesn’t mean everything will go small automatically, but the trend towards it is unmistakable.
More Food Service Options
There’s no question that food chain giants like McDonald’s and KFC will still be there, but make no mistake about it, they will face stiff competition from other food companies and chains like the fast casual restaurant Chipotle. Experts are of the view that 2015 will see more of the fast food vs. fast casual battle heat up, and delivery services and healthy vending will become more popular. The bottom line is that the traditional restaurant market is going to face stiff competition from other fronts, which is good news for the customer as it means more options.
Increased Demand for Beverages
There was a time when beverages were nothing more than an afterthought, but that’s no longer the case as restaurants, in response to customer demand, are now coming up with more creative drinks and beverages. Starbucks started this trend with their Fizzio, and Coke looks like it is following suit by buying more shares in Keurig.
They’re not the only ones of course, and from the looks of things it seems like restaurants will spend a lot of time concocting new drinks, both for the alcohol and non-alcohol types. Already the latter half of 2014 has seen an upsurge in the number of new drinks being offered by bars, and this will continue in 2015.
Asia Food Demands Will Soar
Back in the days, when a restaurant offered Asian food, it meant Americanized Japanese or Chinese dishes, but that’s no longer the case because the demand for the genuine thing continues to grow all over the US. And based on reports, customers aren’t just content with Japanese or Chinese food, as there’s growing interest in Vietnamese and Korean delicacies as well.
What this means is that there will be more upscale restaurants and diners with Asian themed menus that will appear, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise either if the major food chains add more Asian themed food items in their menus.
More Flavors, More Options
Dunkin Donuts recently unveiled their first dark roasts this year, and it should be followed by other fast food chains as well. Although traditional food flavors still predominate, there is no question that customers in the US are now developing a taste for more “bitter” and “darker” food and drinks, so for 2015 expect more dark chocolates, dark coffee and stronger beer to appear. This is one trend that experts didn’t see coming, but by the end of 2014, there’s no question that it is real.
Healthy Food Choices Still Popular
This should come as no surprise to anyone of course. Healthy food options were among the biggest trends in 2014, and there’s no reason to believe that it won’t continue in 2015. There are a ton of dieting options now, including vegan and the Paleo diet, so expect restaurants to offer more of the “pick and choose” type so customers can have the healthy meal they want.
Finally, expect restaurants to add more local flavors to the menu, with locally made beers and seafood among the most in-demand. And with people becoming more environment conscious, the manner in which restaurants prepare their food and dispose of waste materials will be a topic of conversation as well. In short, 2015 promises to be a fun, intriguing year full of possibilities.