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National Restaurant Association Hottest Trends Survey for 2011 Could Impact Franchise Concepts

 A recent NRA survey could offer insight into future trends for food franchises

The National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot” survey of more than 1,500 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) – reveals that local and hyper-local sourcing, healthy children’s meals, sustainable seafood, and gluten-free cuisine will be among the hottest trends on restaurant menus in 2011.“The top trends identified by these culinary professionals for 2011 are reflecting larger societal trends, underscoring that American diners are becoming more and more interested in what’s on their plate. Sustainability and nutrition are becoming key themes in our nation’s nearly one million restaurants,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association.

 Healthy foods are being included on more QSR menus

The top 10 menu trends for next year will be locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce, sustainability as a culinary theme, nutritious kids’ dishes, hyper-local items, children’s nutrition as a culinary theme, sustainable seafood, gluten-free/food allergy-conscious items, back-to-basics cuisine and farm-branded ingredients.“Locally sourced food and a focus on sustainability is not just popular among certain segments of consumers anymore; it has become more mainstream. Diners are requesting to know where their food comes from, and are concerned with how their choices affect the world around us,” said Michael Ty, CEC, AAC, ACF national president.

 We've already seen some franchises going mobile and social media apps are growing

 The chefs were also asked about the top operational trends next year. Thirty percent of the chefs said that mobile food trucks and pop-up restaurants will be the hottest operational trend in 2011; 18 percent said restaurants with gardens will be the top trend, and 17 percent said social media marketing. In addition, 55 percent of the chefs said they are currently using social media for professional purposes, and another 16 percent said they plan to start using such channels.

About the Author: Ed Teixeira has over 35 years of franchise industry experience as a franchise executive and franchisee. He has served as a franchise executive in the c-store, manufacturing and home healthcare industries and has licensed franchises in Asia, Europe and South America. Ed operates FranchiseKnowHow which provides information and advice to prospective and existing franchisees and franchisors. He publishes newsletters for the franchise community.

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