2016 Restaurant Trends

February 4, 2016 Rieva Lesonsky

2016 restaurant trends

There are lots of predictions out there about what will be the top 2016 restaurant trends. Among the most respected are the trends from global food and restaurant consulting company, Baum + Whiteman.

This year the company has identified the 11 hottest food and beverage trends for 2016. “The two most noteworthy trends in for 2016 have nothing to do with food,” their report notes. “Big disrupters are a revolution in high-speed food delivery to homes and offices … and a national conversation regarding tipping and pay disparities.”

That said, here are a few of the 2016 restaurant trends you should be aware of if you own or want to start a restaurant.

  • Delivery: Baum + Whiteman predicts the single biggest restaurant trend of 2016 will be delivery services. They say, “Tech-driven delivery is 2016’s Big Disrupter of food retailing and food service …aimed at the ultimate consumer convenience … food brought quickly to homes, offices and (why not?) hotel guests. Delivery affects everyone from McDonald’s to your favorite white tablecloth emporium.” Of course, the biggest growth in this area is from delivery services that deliver food from restaurants, not the restaurants themselves.
  • Scrambling for “clean menus”: Baum + Whiteman say restaurants will start “dumping some artificial (and other bad-for-you) ingredients from their menus. We’re looking at the ‘healthification’ of fast- and fast-casual food. A recent survey found that 36 percent of consumers worried about ‘chemicals’ in their food.”
  • Is pasta an endangered species?: Baum + Whiteman says pasta sales have dropped globally in the last five years. U.S. sales are down 6 percent, mainly because so many Americans are on low-carb diets.

Other hot 2016 restaurant trends include vegetables (non-vegetarian restaurants are encouraged to add a variety of vegetarian entrees to their menus); Acai bowls, which are essentially smoothies in a bowl made with the touted Acai fruit; and everything spicy—and by spicy, I mean really hot.

They name Turmeric as the spice of the year. It’s “showing up fresh in health food shops and juice bars.” Turmeric is “what makes curry powder yellow … theoretically cures almost everything, and is getting a big play at retail but hardly showing up on restaurant menus … yet.”

Finally, Baum + Whiteman calls Southern fried chicken sandwiches the “Sandwich of the Year” and says they’re “an emerging obsession. No longer just Southern, fried chicken sandwiches have gone creative … and ethnic.”

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at rieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.

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