The dining deal pioneer explored 2016 menu ideas and observations from chefs, restaurants and industry insiders across the country, then asked its own team of dining experts to pinpoint the top seven trends that everyday diners will happily devour. Restaurant.com focused on availability for diners across the country to determine trends that are accessible at casual and fine dining restaurants alike.
The Restaurant.com 2016 Food Trend Predictions:
1. Fast, Casual and Delicious
In 2016, diners can look for casual restaurants with mouthwatering food that’s quick to serve and not too expensive. On the wheels of food truck phenomenon and made-to-order restaurants like Chipotle®, time-starved diners are demanding higher quality for abbreviated lunches and quick dinners…and the industry is listening!
2. Fantastic Fried Chicken
There’s nothing like an all-American favorite prepared to perfection. In fact, there is a full-blown obsession with fried chicken across the nation. And restaurants are adding their own twist with signature wings, sandwiches and, of course, main dishes with all the fixin’s.
3. Sriracha-Inspired Fare
Sriracha, the spicy sauce with the white rooster on the bottle, has achieved nationwide popularity and is inspiring restaurants to add bolder, more assertive flavors to their menus. Diners can expect an influx of Middle Eastern spices, Indian hot peppers and exotic African flavors.
4. Ethnic Mashups
Many diners are looking for something new…yet familiar. This year, they’ll be happy to find that fusion cuisine will be a big trend. For example, restaurants might offer Mexican tacos filled with Korean kimchi, hamburgers served on crunchy Ramen noodle buns or Italian pizzas that use curry sauce instead of tomato.
5. Hyper-Local Sourcing
Restaurant.com also sees chefs planting even deeper local roots to build on the farm-to-fork trend of 2015. Restaurant gardens, farm-fresh meats and ingredients from local farmers’ markets will become more prevalent—even replacing organically grown ingredients. They also predict more “nose-to-tail” and “root-to-stalk” cooking, utilizing as much of the ingredients—in as many dishes—as possible.
6. Less is More
Small plates, tapas, tasting menus, dim sum, finger foods…no matter what restaurants call it, this tastefriendly trend will let diners explore menus, share (if they want to) and try new things without committing to a main course. Small plates offer up a nice variety of flavors without the large-portion temptation. On the other hand, smaller portions can also take the place of appetizers for multi-course meals.
7. Simplifying Technology
Tech giants, including Amazon Prime, Google and UberEats, are offering quick delivery from just about any type of restaurant—even places that don’t typically offer delivery. For those dining out, a growing number of restaurants are offering kiosks or tablets at the table to take orders, as well as apps to preorder and keep track of loyalty points.
For more details about the predictions from the Restaurant.com dining experts, please visit the company’s blog, The Dish atthedish.restaurant.com.