Food & Restaurant Trends Fresh From Technomic 2015

Food & Restaurant Trends Fresh From Technomic 2015

Food & Restaurant Trends Fresh From Technomic 2015 800 532 Chute Gerdeman

Recently Technomic hosted their 14th Annual Restaurant Trends & Directions Conference in Chicago, and there was a lot to cover as restaurants are out performing the rest of the economy. From food origins to food preparation and dining expectations here are some of the hot topics trending in the restaurant industry.

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It’s all about customization and customer engagement. Restaurants are looking to invest in new ways to meet customer demands as 72% of customers expect restaurants to offer customization. Made-to-order, which started in QSR, is making its way across all restaurant formats. Even full service restaurants are incorporating ways to offer some element of customization, including tableside prepared items like fresh handmade guacamole. This interaction also gives staff a chance to engage with the consumer and creates a positive dining experience.


Restaurants are looking at ways to take customization a step further. Personalization is that next step to build brand loyalty. Extending the customer experience through improved ordering and payment, mobile push notifications and predictive analytics. Tread lightly, however, there is a line that can be crossed and no one likes a creepy big brother.


The Food Network and shows like Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain have a heavy influence on today’s consumers; exposing them to a wide variety of foods from all over the world. This has created a foodie mentality amongst many and an increasing willingness to try new foods and restaurants. In fact, 64% Consumers consider themselves more adventurous in their restaurant food choices than they were two years ago.

Better For You & Local

Customers are attempting to balance health and indulgence. Fresh and healthy is a perceived idea. Sure, “all natural and no antibiotics” sound great, but it still may be an indulgent meal. Butter can be natural after all. Healthy does not truly mean healthy, rather “better for you.”

“Local” is the new fresh. Consumers value locally sourced products and 57% say they seek out restaurants offering locally sourced items. But what does local mean really mean? Consumer understanding of “locally sourced” is on the decline. It’s not always clearly defined and there’s no industry standard. 75% of consumers say local means “from my city,” but that is typically not the case. Chipotle, for example, lists it’s local ingredients are sourced within a 350-mile radius. Make local more than a buzzword and be clear with your customers.

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Fragmented Consumers

There’s growing diversity in today’s consumers as lifestyles and needs are evolving perspectives and impacting restaurant selection. From functional eaters to busy balancers and adventurous indulgers, how do you cut across all those groups? Understanding psychographic segments will become even more important over broader generational characterizations.

Modern Convenience

Convenience is expected, but with new technological enhancements being created every day, the need to integrate into the dining experience can be complex. Mobile ordering for on the go is critical, meanwhile emerging conveniences like tableside tablet ordering and Uber-like delivery services like Postmate are being tested. Beyond just being convenient though, restaurants are capitalizing on data to give insight into being able to enhance the experience in various ways including dayparting, quality control and digital transparency, and more.

Want to hear more about what’s heating up in the restaurant industry? Check out our latest report, “Reviving the Relevance of Restaurant Brands.”

Source Credit: Technomic 2015 | Photo Credit: Sweetgreen Local Harvest

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