How Do I Keep up with Restaurant Industry Trends?

M.C. Huguelet

If you want to ensure that your restaurant remains fresh and modern, keeping up with the latest restaurant industry trends is key. There are several ways you can keep yourself informed about emerging restaurant industry trends. First of all, you can purchase industry analysis reports and attend trade shows. You can also hire a restaurant consultant. Finally, restaurant review websites and blogs are a great resource for finding out what diners are saying about the newest trends.

Discover how diners are responding to new trends to distinguish lasting trends from temporary ones.
Discover how diners are responding to new trends to distinguish lasting trends from temporary ones.

One good option for keeping up with restaurant industry trends is purchasing a trend analysis report. In the US, these reports are published by several independent culinary industry organizations. They generally present detailed research that catalogs current trends and forecasts future ones, from the latest developments in condiments to the newest concepts in dining room layout. Some organizations publish annual reports, while others release new reports several times each year. A subscription to one of these publications can be fairly expensive, but some restaurateurs believe that this cost is offset by the insider knowledge they provide.

Some restaurant trends are simply fads that will pass with time.
Some restaurant trends are simply fads that will pass with time.

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Going to restaurant industry trade shows is another way to keep up with restaurant industry trends. These shows, often hosted on an annual basis by independent culinary industry organizations, are usually held in a convention center and feature a large number of exhibits that demonstrate emerging concepts in foods, cooking techniques, utensils, appliances, and so forth. Generally, attendees must pay a registration fee, and in many cases, registration is open only to those who currently work in the food service industry.

Another way to educate yourself about restaurant industry trends is to seek the services of a restaurant consulting firm. A consultant can analyze your current business model and identify areas where you can update your restaurant through the incorporation of new trends. Depending on your needs, you may choose to hire a consultant for just a single session or retain a firm’s services for a total overhaul of your restaurant. Pricing for consulting services can vary widely, and depends largely on the amount of time a firm spends working with you.

Lastly, when deciding which restaurant industry trends might be a good fit for your business, it is important to be able to distinguish between trends that have staying power and those that are simply passing fads. While making this distinction is not an exact science, finding out what real diners are saying about current trends can help you predict which concepts are likely to quickly become passé. To get the verdict on restaurant trends straight from the mouths of diners, make a habit of spending some time each week browsing “foodie” blogs and user-generated restaurant review websites.

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