As the nation begins to emerge from recession, changes are on the way for the restaurant industry in 2011, according to Technomic, a leading foodservice research and consulting firm.
As federal menu labeling requirements take effect, Technomic says to look for more items and detailed descriptions on “healthy” menus — including gluten-free fare as well as more “under x calories” items.
Also expect to see more high-end restaurants and more ultra-niche eateries with narrowly focused menus and high-concept ambiance. Meanwhile, the middle class is expected to gravitate to reasonably priced but high-experience-value, thrill-a-minute concepts with memorable menus and consumers will continue to demand price deals everywhere they eat.
Technomic predicts limited-time offers (including seasonal fare) will trend up and “eating a little better” will translate into menu modifications such as slightly-lower-sodium, slightly-more-glamorous sea salt.
Regarding menu items, Technomic says the Korean taco signals the rise of Korean barbecue and Korean food in general. Demand for comfort food is expected, Technomic says.