The Andrew Freeman & Co. team has released their ninth annual Trends Report titled
The Year of Multiple Personalities – a preview of the hottest trends and predictions that will be shaping the restaurant and hotel industries in 2016.
the coming year, chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers will have to flex
their creative muscles even more than in years past in order to satisfy
many audiences – hence, taking on “multiple personalities” to please
multiple types of people at multiple times. The pressure is on like
never before to pull out all the stops, think outside the box, and stand
out from the crowd. From top to bottom, everyone
in the hospitality world will need to get inventive and identify coping
mechanisms to keep the sanity, while still being profitable, in the
ANDREW FREEMAN & CO. ANNOUNCES 2016 TRENDS REPORT
The Year of Multiple Personalities:
“Can Crazy Be Good? The Answer Is Yes!”
San Francisco, CA (November 4, 2015)
Andrew Freeman & Co. (AF&Co.) celebrates their 10th
Anniversary as one of the country’s leading boutique hospitality and
restaurant consulting firms, the team is thrilled to release
this year’s trends report, The Year of Multiple Personalities – a
preview of the hottest trends and predictions that will be shaping the
restaurant and hotel industries in 2016. This comprehensive annual
report identifies key influences in hospitality
marketing, hotel, food and beverage for the coming year.
2016, chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers will have to flex their
creative muscles even more than in years past in order to satisfy many
– hence, taking on “multiple personalities” to please multiple types of
people at multiple times. The pressure is on like never before to pull
out all the stops, think outside the box, and stand out from the crowd.
From top to bottom, everyone in the hospitality
world will need to get inventive and identify coping mechanisms to keep
the sanity, while still being profitable, in the coming year.
age, financial status or location no longer dictates whether they will
visit your establishment, “says Andrew Freeman, president
of AF&Co. “Guests
are looking for more multi-faceted unique experiences, and sometimes
those are conflicting. It wouldn’t be unlikely for a guest to want a
vegetable-centric meal on a Monday and then want to have an over-the-top
decadent brunch on that same Sunday. The boom of new offerings coupled
with the labor crisis and the increasing costs
of running businesses have also forced restaurants and hotels to
re-invent meal periods, add new offerings and develop their several
personalities. This year’s theme is reflected in every facet of the
business. We are inviting businesses to get their crazy
for the webinar
(Monday, November 9 at 3pm PST/6pm EST or Tuesday, November 17, at 11am PST/2pm EST) to learn:
How To Cope When GOOD HELP IS HARD TO FIND
Why BRUNCH AND BLOODY MARYS are bigger than ever
How To Play THE GIN GAME, React UNDER COMPRESSION, and Go From DISCARDED TO DELICIOUS
What It Means To GO VEG OR GO HOME
How NO TIPPING…IT’S AT THE TIPPING POINT
And why, in 2016, it will be all about a FRIED CHICKEN FRENZY, HAWAIIAN FOOD, TROPICAL COCKTAILS, 24 HOUR STAYS,
POSHTELS and much MATCHA more!
in its ninth year, AF&Co’s annual trends report has become an
industry standard in anticipating market demand and consumer feedback.
from extensive research, the report is intended as a guide to help
operators prepare for the coming year.
Read on to review the complete list:
TOP TRENDS & PREDICTIONS FOR 2016 ACCORDING TO
ANDREW FREEMAN & Co.
THE YEAR OF MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES
In Food, Beverage and Hospitality
Go Veg or Go Home
are the hero this year. They’ve become the center of the plate
component, not simply a side dish. People want less animal protein and
are requesting that veggies are ramped up to their fullest creative
potential - and if a dish happens to be vegetarian or vegan, hey!,
that’s ok! Millennials love this trend, since there is an
environmentally-responsible edge to it. Dedicated menus and menu
items are an absolute must since guests are identifying themselves as
Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten Free more than ever.
Plant Based Diets
Vegetable filled sandwiches
check out the King Oyster Mushroom “BLT” with Basil Mayonnaise from Chef Richard Landau’s V Street (Philadelphia)
Bar and Nosh Menus
filled with vegetable and grain centric items like Quinoa Fritters with Aji Amarillo Aioli from the Chefs
Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger of Border Grill (Santa Monica)
restaurant of the year goes to Al’s Place (San Francisco) where proteins are served as sides
Happy in Hawaii, Wish You Were
Hawaiian food is the latest regional ‘New American’ food that’s getting its place in the spotlight.
Yacht Club (San Francisco) serves up grilled spam and other Hawaiian
delicacies under the direction of award-winning Chef Ravi Kapur.
Poke To The Max (Seattle) is a crowd-pleasing food truck serving up poke rice bowls, salads and wraps under the direction
of Chef Sam Choy.
Noreetuh (New York City) serves up casual Hawaiian fare in the East Village.
Sliders Landslide, Where’s The Burger?
continue to lend themselves to more than just mini burgers these days
and due to their small size, they’re the perfect mini-bite indulgence
for restaurants to experiment with. For bar menus and beyond, sliders
Rock Cod Sliders with beer-battered cod and avocado on bun with tarragon aioli at the Hungry Cat (Santa Barbara).
Dorian (San Francisco) features creative French inspired provisions
like their Dungeness Crab and Shrimp Cake Sliders served with Sausalito
Cafe Aion (Boulder) served up Moroccan spiced pork sliders with Greek yogurt sauce.
Gravy Meatball Sliders at Little Owl Cafe (NYC) are a crave-worthy hit among regulars.
Fiery, Fiery Foods…I Can’t Feel My Mouth When I’m With You.
you heard? Fiery, spicy foods are not only delicious, but supposedly
really good for you, according to various news sources. From the obvious
chili oil to the now-ubiquitous sriracha
to the creatively-inspired spicy maple syrup, American palates are
embracing and relishing the heat. Now more than ever, desserts and
beverages are enhanced with spice and heat.
E&O Kitchen and Bar (San Francisco) first introduced their Chili Tamarind Margarita as a special, but it quickly became
a top seller and year-round cocktail menu staple.
(Chicago) works with the popular Dogma Group to curate their cocktail
program. They’ve put a spin on classic
pisco cocktails, serving their Presidio Pisco Punch #1 with house made
Thai chili infused pisco, mango puree, lime and coconut water.
The always creative and cutting edge Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream (San Francisco) incorporates ingredients that burn
in flavors like Strawberry Sichuan Sorbet and Ancho-Chocolate.
Pastry chef Kierin Baldwin’s Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding at The Dutch (New York City) combines spicy and comfort
with classic French technique. It’s topped with brown butter Mezcal sauce and Arbol-spiced cinnamon ice cream.
Rock & (Lobster) Rolls
ultimate comfort food / seafood sandwich is the lobster roll. Despite
always appearing as a more premium-priced menu item, diners willingly
the price for decadent, buttery lobster meat on a bun.
Kane’s Handcrafted Donuts (Massachusetts) makes a lobster roll with their brioche based donuts.
ME (National) is a rapidly expanding chain focused on offering a
variety of rolls and items. From the classic with drawn butter to the
Spice-seasoned roll to a roll with truffled aioli spread, the variety
of flavors won’t disappoint. Don’t forget to try the Lobsicle!
Oyster Co. (Portland) makes their lobster sandwich with a Chinese-style
bun and Maine lobster meat tossed in a brown butter vinaigrette
Discarded to Delicious
higher food and labor costs impacting restaurateurs, there’s a growing
need to figure out how to save money. Add to that process, the move
creating less waste, and you will find that chefs are embracing and
utilizing the bits and pieces of all sorts of ingredients that were
previously discarded to create delicious new dishes.
Hill Chef Dan Barber created a burger made entirely from food waste for
an epic three week pop up event at Madison Square Park’s Shake Shack
(New York City).
Belcampo (multiple locations in California)
matches McDonald’s in price with one dollar burgers featuring
lower cost, less-used and often discarded beef trim meat from their farm
in California’s Shasta Valley.
Saucy by Nature (Brooklyn) got its first brick and mortar after many successful pop-ups with the
“zero waste” concept. Lunch and dinner menus change daily to
ensure ingredients remaining from the night before are utilized in a new
and creative way.
Flour Power Hour
and cafes have been creating unique condiments, pickling veggies,
rolling pastas, and making dairy items in house for quite some time
now. Looking to expand upon these in-house programs, these same
restaurants and cafes are sourcing small grain mills to create
small-batch flours, which they use in a vast array of breads, desserts,
and more, ensuring that all dishes contain the freshest and
most flavorful ingredient grains
Miller (Chicago) features “sweet and savory dishes, like Strawberry
Lemon Chiffon pie and Biscuits and Gravy” made from in house milled
Baker Bread mills their own flours for a variety of loaves and toasts
sold at their popular cafe, The Mill (San Francisco).
You’re So Cuke – Slice ‘Em, Smash ‘Em, Smoosh ‘Em
have become the ‘it’ vegetable, prompting chefs to source more
varieties that go way beyond the familiar English seedless varieties
like tiny Kirby and Lemon cucumbers. Cucumbers are
versatile because the add texture, coolness, freshness, and absorb
flavoring easily (and they’re packed with fiber).
Superiority Burger (New York City), smashed cucumber is mixed with
yogurt, jalapeño honey and crushed sesame breadsticks.MY China (San
Francisco) serves Honey
Glazed Cucumber Shrimp with Wasabi under the creative direction of
popular TV Chef Martin Yan.
Bowien, Executive Chef at Mission Chinese Food (San Francisco), uses
smashing and other methods to hand process cucumbers to get the most
flavor and alter
the texture for his dishes.
melon and root vegetables are becoming staples in both high end and
casual establishments, as modernist technique is further investigated
and integrated in ways that aren’t so “science experiment” like.
Brasserie (San Francisco) prepares a Serrano Ham and Charentais Melon
with arugula, mint, pumpkin seed crumble, and a red wine reduction.
Kingsley (New York City), Chef Roxanne Spruance combines classic French
and modern technique, made evident in the Heritage Pork served with
cherries and compressed carrots.
Brasserie’s (San Francisco) serves Beet Cured Salmon Tartare with
compressed cucumbers, horseradish crème fraiche, salmon roe, rye crisps,
and fresh dill.
Their Crispy Pork Belly comes with a white balsamic glaze, compressed
strawberries, pickled fennel, and Sausalito watercress.
empanadas, dumplings, and blintzes… Oh my! Every culture / cuisine has a
filled item of deliciousness, and what’s not to love about that?
Chefs continue to delight in the pleasures of the familiar, filling,
and always delicious foods of the world.
Restaurant (San Francisco) serves up their house made chorizo empanadas
with arugula salad to make the perfect happy hour bites.
Ji (New York City & Melbourne) serves assorted samosas like their
pomegranate and green mango and spiced potatoes and peas, both in a
crisp pastry served
with a seasonal chutney.
& Daughters (New York City), a Jewish Lower East Side deli that has
been around for over 100 years, opened a new café in 2014. Cheese
Blintzes among other
appetizing Jewish delicacies attract a regular foodie audience.
This Is How We Roll
service rolls through the dining room giving an added touch to service
in upscale restaurants across the globe with Spanish, Italian, and
concepts giving new life to the once overdone tableside salad and
flambé cart. Depending on the night, guests may be served by the Chef or
Sous Chef themselves.
Barcelona Wine Bar (Boston) slices their Mangalica, cured Hungarian Pig, Spain tableside.
Ben Balesteri at Poggio Trattoria (Sausalito) serves their bollito
misto (a northern Italian inspired stew that highlights five different
meats and assorted
root vegetables) every January through March.
Daniel (New York City) offers an over the top cheese cart with two
dozen imported and domestic cheeses as part of their tasting menu
My Brunch Is Bigger Than Your Brunch
and brunch go full-throttle with decadence and indulgence. Why not
throw caloric caution to the wind once a week? Decadent French Toast,
egg dishes, foie, caviar, oysters, you name it - it’s what’s for
Stag (Atlanta) serves a chef’s breakfast with four dishes selected by
the chef that morning. Over-the-top
brunch items have included pancakes with duck liver butter, coddled egg
with salty salmon roe, and pork belly on top of a bed of kimchee with a
fried egg on top. All chef breakfasts come with a tall boy of local
brew. Hash House (San Diego) is a crowd favorite
(1 to 2 hour waits are the norm here) serving up the ultra indulgent
Sage Fried Chicken and Bacon Infused Waffle Tower.
Longman & Eagle (Chicago) knocks regional American fare out of the park with their Brioche French Toast with Foie Gras
frosting. In case this brunch sends you into a food coma, the attached six room boutique inn is available to sleep it off.
Between The Sweets…Ice Cream Sandwich Mania
ahead, order one. We know you want to! Ice Cream Sandwiches have been
popping up on dessert menus from casual spots to fine dining eateries.
& The Bird (Los Angeles) serves up Ice cream sandwich, chocolate
chiffon, cocoa shortbread with caramel milk chocolate crunch.
The Good Cafe (Jakarta) serves up west coast inspired comfort foods like their larger than life ice cream sandwiches.
At Qui (Austin), Chef Paul Qui brings together the best of both worlds with his cheddar cheese ice cream sandwich.
At The Meatball Shop (New York City) guests can build their own creation with an assortment of house made cookies and
ice cream. A DIY dessert for the win!
Fried Chicken Flies The Coop
chicken continues to grow in popularity from authentic,
southern-inspired to ethnic-influenced twists on the favorite comfort
Addendum, Thomas Keller’s seasonal lunch spot at Ad Hoc (Napa), serves their buttermilk fried chicken with two sides
and cornbread. Take it for the road or enjoy it at one of their picnic tables.
(Oakland) serves up their Fried Chicken & Biscuits with pork
sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, and a green salad
or a Bucket O’Chicken to go. You’ll also find this fan favorite dish on
their brunch menu served with house made biscuits and sausage gravy and
at dinner with marble potato salad.
David Chang’s newest concept, Fuku (New York City) is serving only four menu items with their spicy fried chicken sandwich
with it’s Korean inspired spice and presentation taking center stage.
Are You Mocking Me?
offerings are popping up all over America’s food cities from San
Francisco to New York. They target consumers watching their diets,
drivers, pregnant women, and even “foodie” children. Some chefs have
experimented with pairing an entire meal with mocktails, which gives
them a unique opportunity to blend ingredients that complement the food
without the overpowering strength of alcohol (or
Marianella’s new Restaurant, Love & Salt (Manhattan Beach), offers
three different mocktails made from sage, almond syrup, jalapeno and
Restaurant (New York) launched a temperance pairing menu creating
mocktails inspired by cocktails. Their Cote de Beet mocktail is a
of black currants and beets that are aged in hopes of matching the
taste of the rich red wine.
and bars across the country are getting creative with Kombucha juice.
The popular earthy drink is being incorporated into cocktails to
create more botanical and fruitful alcoholic beverages. Favorite
cocktail drinks are being enhanced by the trend with new concoctions
like the kombucha rita. Breweries are even getting in on the idea too,
working alongside popular Kombucha drink companies
to introduce new beer blends to its consumers.
Stave (Denver) always has at least one kombucha on tap. The house
speciality is cranberry-lavender, which is blended with one of their
Saison beers. Right now, one will also find mango kombucha on draft,
which the brewery mixes with their Vieille Saison.
83 Degrees (San Diego), choose straight up kombucha or have it mixed
into one of three cocktails. Wheeler incorporates Living Tea ginger
into his take on a Moscow Mule and The BU lavender kombucha into the
restaurant’s kombucha breeze cocktail.
The Bubble Bursts
mania expands from champagne and sparkling wine to sparkling water and
fancy house made sodas. Restaurants and breweries are embracing this
new preference by introducing their own house-made sodas and producers
are creating their own alcoholic and non-alcoholic brews by infusing
them with ginger and other botanical flavors.
LeCroix offers pamplemousse, peach-pear, and coconut as well as Dry Sparkling’s lemongrass and cucumber flavors sparkling water.
influx of craft ginger beer producers are popping up, including Matsos
Broome Brewery and Rachel’s Ginger Brew out of the Pacific Northwest.
anyone? Products like Not Your Father’s Root Beer from Small Town
Brewery in Wisconsin and the Orange or Ginger flavors from Henry’s Hard
Soda are on the rise.
I Wanna A New Buzz
popular morning drink continues to evolve with the popularity of
nitro-coffee. Coffee shops and restaurants alike are expanding on the
incorporating coffee into alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic coffee
beverages by infusing new techniques and flavors to create balanced and
“treatful” coffee drinks.
Frank (San Francisco) offers a Kaffe Tonic, the infusion of tonic water
and fresh espresso creates a refreshing way to enjoy coffee.
George’s introduced a NOLA liquor, made with rich ethiopian coffee and
infused with madagascar vanilla, chicory root, and natural cane sugar.
This beverage is sure to please any caffeine
Bar (San Francisco), which serves Mr. Espresso coffee, has combined
the sweetness of horchata and the bitterness of coffee by blending ice,
cinnamon, and vanilla infused cold brew coffee
topped with milk to create a creamy, flavored (but not artificial)
The Gin Game
and Gin & Tonics will never go out of style, but bartenders are
putting a creative spin on the classic old school drinks with
gins on the rise. Aged in whiskey, brandy or rum barrels, these gins
are infused with tastes of botanicals and sweetened with hints of
vanilla, maple, and brown sugar creating a gin that is easy to sip and
is the perfect complement in any number of cocktails
Gin Reserve, a recent addition to the citadelle collection is made
using the barrel aged process. This gin sits in oak barrels for several
it a hint of vanilla flavor before being bottled and sold. (France)
with a mix of juniper berries, coriander and fennel, Death’s Door has a
subtle botanical influence that allows it to stand on its own or be
paired with other
off as Brandy, Bummer & Lazarus, is redistilled and the flavors of
Juniper berries, orris root, coriander seeds, angelica root, bitter
orange peel, lemon
peel, cinnamon bark and licorice root are infused. (Treasure Island)
Barrel Reserve Gin distills their strong botanical gin and hand-charred
French oak barrels. The flavor profile is smoke, oak, and vanilla.
Tropical Storm Cocktail
cocktails are making their way back into the mainstream. Umbrella
decorated drinks are on the rise and are bringing a little more flare
to your glass. Restaurants are recreating some of the popular cocktail
drinks from the original tiki days and are putting a fresh and creative
spin on them with high quality ingredients and fresh squeezed juices.
You may just see that Tiki glass at your local
watering hole. This drink craze is booming and how could you not love
it? It arrives in a fun 70’s style glass, freshly decorated with juicy,
sweet fruit and a zany straw.
Lynch’s No.9 park (Boston) offers Potions of the Caribbean focusing on
the history of tiki, the use of tropical flavors, and cocktail making.
Well bar and Grill (Kansas City) introduced a new tiki cocktail menu.
Inspired by the tropical drink trend, the restaurant created Tiki
an event hosted every Tuesday night on their rooftop. The event
features live island music and gives guests the opportunity to enjoy one
of their many handcrafted tiki cocktails.
weather (San Diego) not only has the best views of PETCO Park, they
also have an entire menu of tiki cocktails. From an artisanal Pina
to the various takes on the classic Mai Tai, locals and visitors alike
keep their bar bustling.
Cocktails By The Course…Of Course!
wine with food is an old standing tradition, but this tradition is
being made anew with cocktails now being paired in multi course meals.
Bartenders are creating drinks with
flavors designed to specifically complement dishes. This new trend
allows bartenders to highlight signature drinks and bring a new level of
balance to main course food offerings.
classic sazerac at North End Grill (New York City) is made with local
Long Island rough rider rye. It’s paired with the restaurant’s
Steak and the combination is meant to balance the intense and rich
flavor in the dish.
Root (New Orleans), Chef Phillip Lopez draws on his Mexican-American
background bringing modern food paired with creative cocktails
to his all tasting menu concept.
Ice Cube & Pop Diddy = The New Jello Shot
Ice Cubes & Boozy Popsicles // The Beyond Zero icemaker, a new
innovation that freezes alcohol is putting a cool spin on your favorite
Ice Pop Cocktails at Loopy Doopy, the rooftop bar at the Conrad Hotel
(New York City), are topped with prosecco and come in a variety of
(Blueberry Peach, Strawberry Lemongrass, and Empire Apple).
boozy ice cubes help keep your glass cold and your drink strong.
Everyone’s favorite cocktails are now hitting the freezer and are being
turned into delicious
Madre (Los Angeles), a plant based Mexican restaurant, offers a Boozy
Popsicle on their cocktail menu that rotates seasonally from blood
orange and Mezcal
to tequila blanco with roasted pineapple and jalapeno.
The Best Dressed Drinks
worthy garnishes from gold dusted flowers, dehydrated fruits, sugar
stirrers, and designer straws are growing in popularity and giving
restaurateurs and hoteliers equal opportunity to add pizzazz to their
the Drink offers culinary and mixologist garnishes nationwide and can
customize and develop any garnish based on the bar’s concept and drink
shimmering exotic flowers floating in cocktails to gold flakes dusted
on a glass rim, these garnishes take any cocktail offering to the next
level and merit a higher price per drink.
Toki Underground (Virginia) tops their bourbon and pepper-honey cocktail with a perfectly smoked piece of Pork Belly.
Bon Marche (San Francisco) serves fun straws in their cocktails like the Last Metro
Bloody Mary Bonzana
Bloody Mary’s have always been popular, we expect to see more and more
creative presentations of this fan-favorite. From inventive garnishes,
new components, to larger-than-life carts at posh brunch spots
throughout the country, they continue to evolve and grow from their
traditional spicy tomato juice and vodka recipes.
Main’s Bloody Mary Cart (Napa) has over 20 choices for add-ons
including fried oysters, duck pastrami, fried shrimp cocktail, sriracha
salt, fresh grated
egg yolk cured in salt, kimchi brussel sprouts, and candied jalapenos.
Their tomato juice is made from heirloom tomatoes grown in their own
garden and combined with lemon, spice, and everything nice to make a
Toma’s (Chicago) Bloody Mary Tower is meant to be shared (groups of
2-4). What sets this apart from the rest? It’s got a slice of pepperoni
pizza soaking in
All About Mary at Todd English’s P.U.B. (Las Vegas) doubles as a meal.
It’s topped with a chicken wing, slider, cocktail shrimp, a corn dog,
and pickled veggies.
A Matcha Made In Heaven
Leaves, and Roots - Matcha is taking the world by storm. With its hint
of sweetness and its many health benefits people are going crazy for
it! In the past year alone, Matcha sales have gone up by nearly 55%.
Botanical drinks are also giving drink connoisseurs something to talk
about. With people looking for healthier food and drink alternatives
that are less sweet, people are turning to plant
based beverages. From teas to smoothies to your favorite cocktail
drinks people are asking for fresh plant based ingredients. Mint, ginger
and everything in between add a bit of freshness and flare to our
by the age-old Japanese tea, Matcha bar (New York City) hopes to share
the ancient tastes and traditions of matcha with the people of the
modern day foodie
city. Matcha bar is the first specialty matcha cafe that dedicates
itself to everything matcha. Everything they serve is boosted by the
green energy supplying tea.
Chapter at ACE DTLA (Los Angeles) has a full menu of 80s inspired
drinks including their Midori Sour with Aylesbury Duck vodka, Midori,
lime, honey, egg white and Matcha tincture
Taps Gone Wild
innovative and effective way to pour wine is now gaining in popularity.
More restaurants and wineries are now offering wines on tap. Pouring
from tap, rather than going through the
traditional process of popping open a stubborn cork helps to keep
things moving. The ability to keep the wine in kegs increases
preservation time. With the efficiency that it provides, it’s no wonder
why restaurants are turning to the popular trend.
City wineries tasting room in Napa offers over 30 wines on taps including Mondavi, Barrett, Hobbs, and Finkelstein.
New Wave White Wine
wine, particularly moderately oaked will continue to rise. Even
traditional red wine drinkers are exploring more white
wines. Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris show double digit growth and
Chardonnay, America’s #1 selling varietal, continues to rise. French
Chenin Blanc is gaining popularity and the dry and off dry Rieslings
from Germany and Austria are continually the most prized.
Wine Makers are using more oak and less interventionist methods like
native yeast in their wine.
Wente Vineyards, Morning Fog Chardonnay
New entrant Tom Gore
On The Rise - Cool New Products
Zu Bison Grass Vodka
Ancho Reyes chili liqueur
Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
– The only artisan craft peppermint schnapps in the world. It’s blended
with peppermint extract, bitter almond, rosewater and a bit of
The Itsy, Bitsy,Teeny,Tiny Room
rooms.” All that square footage for communal spaces in hotels has to
come from somewhere. Hotel rooms are shrinking to the micro
level - think 160 square feet. For the guest that doesn’t care to spend
that much time in their room, these are perfect. These micro hotels are
meant to be affordable and have lots of other amenities to satisfy
Tommie, A Commune Hotel
Hostel + Posh = Poshtels
might be this year’s version of glamping. Hostels are no longer just
for college students backpacking through Europe. Modern upscale
hostels are popping up in major cities all over the globe. More than
just places to sleep, they are urban chic with a touch of luxury in the
lobby and communal spaces. So while you will still book a bed in a
dorm-style room, you’ll sip cocktails on a white
leather banquette, hang out on a cool rooftop lounge and play ping
pong, or listen to a band play in a slinky bar. They are
budget-friendly, but guests are also making a statement by being there.
Stay on Main
Clink 78 (London)
New York Loft Hostel (Brooklyn)
Come and Go As You Please
“a night stay,” hotels are saying “yes” to late checkouts more and
more. Some are even looking at a 24 hour stay model. The
New York Times recently explored this in a piece in September,
“Checking out at a leisurely pace.” Key cards will be programmed at
arrival versus a traditional check in and some hotels are attributing
high guest return rates to the policy.
Capella Hotel Group
Virtual Service: Text Me.
Tweet Me. FaceTime Me.
may I help you? It’s a virtual world. It’s nothing new that tech is
everywhere in hotels, but we are seeing that it’s not only about
automation, it’s about bringing convenient, live interaction to
guests. Concierges are having conversations on twitter and hotels are
looking at systems and apps that let guests check in online and simply
pick up their key.
Hotel Lincoln (Chicago)
Provides online check-in from a confirmation email to text message alerts when your room is ready.
Hyatt have concierge accounts on Twitter.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ app lets guests FaceTime with
staff at any hour of the day.
No-Service Room Service
room service is on its way out. Guests no longer want to sit in their
room to wait for a burger with a candle on a tray. Hotels
are starting to rethink both their menus and the delivery. Vessels are
changing with more grab and go options and delivery anywhere in the
hotel, as well brown paper bags and cool boxes that you pick up in the
The Public (Chicago) The Ian Schrager
Hotel offers a “Public Express Menu,” delivered in 6 to 8 minutes in a paper bag to go.
Hotel RL (Baltimore) “The Pick
Up Artist” has food available for pick up in the lobby.
Skamania Resort, (Washington)
A Destination Hotel, Skamania offers food delivery anywhere in the hotel, packaged to go.
Your iPhone is the (actual) key
can pay with your phone at Starbucks and now you can open your hotel
room door. Concerns loom about whether it’s gimmicky or if it
actually makes life easier for guests, but we believe smooth
implementation is key. (Get it?) We are seeing some big players moving
forward on it, so we’d expect the technology to follow.
Banquet & Event Trends
Doin’ it Restaurant-Style
the word “banquets” is passe as the focus shifts to “events.” While
set menus have an operational purpose, people
want experiences that they’ve become accustomed to in restaurants. They
don’t want to compromise quality for being in a group and want their
food to feel “made to order.” From the bar, we’re seeing higher quality
bartenders, but also labor-saving elements
like bottled cocktails and cocktails on tap.
Different Spaces, Unique Places
are getting even more experiential, with caterers either giving
flexibility and personality to existing spaces or seeking additional
subway stations, art studios, breweries and even private residences.
Seating is designed for socializing and interacting. Uniforms are taking
a cue from restaurants. “Say goodbye to the old penguin suits!” (Lou
Trope, Destination Hotels)
desire to explore and choose your own adventure is extending to events
as well. Everything is customizable, interactive, fresh and delicious
foods, mason jar salads, noodle bars, make-your-own sandwiches, and
build-your-own desserts. Interesting grazing stations for long meetings
to keep people engaged.
The Rise Of The Celebrity Restaurateur
over celebrity chefs…there’s a new hero in town. We have Danny Meyer
and the Shake Shack IPO to thank for
this one. It used to be that the multi-concept world was filled with
big business and “chain” operators, but now we’re seeing many
restaurateurs move beyond one or two great restaurants to expanding
KARIM MASRI & NICOLA SIERVO, KNR Hospitality,
Cameron Mitchell Restaurants
Obie Ostergard, Au Bon Repas
Personalities by Meal Periods. Restaurants are no longer confined to
the same identity throughout the
day. Lunch can be fast and a bit more casual, while dinnertime can be
slower paced with more formality. We are seeing restaurants that go from
counter-service by day to seated dinner by night, with a totally
different vibe. This is communicated in service
style, but also with music, lighting and tabletop changes. It’s
multiple personalities, but there’s always a unifying factor in the food
and approach. It’s about meeting guests’ needs as they change
throughout the day.
Precita Park Cafe
Francisco) serves light breakfast options and counter service at lunch,
while by night it’s a full service dining experience
Tropisueno (San Francisco) changes its function and appearance
every day from a quick-service Taqueria for lunch to a full-service restaurant dinner.
Panbon (San Diego) is a fast casual market by day and
a destination restaurant by night.
The “Free From” Frenzy
say it’s healthier. According to a recent Mintel study,
“Free-from Food Trends,” 43 percent of the consumers Mintel studied
“agree that free-from foods are healthier than foods without a free-from
claim.” Additionally, another 59 percent agree with
the statement that “the fewer ingredients a product has, the healthier
it is.” Just Say NO to GMO… and other ingredients that are not
immediately recognizable to guests. Restaurants that already have
consumers trust have an edge.
McDonald’s will transition
to Cage Free Eggs over the next 10 years
Panera released a “no-no”
list of ingredients they pledge will not be in their foods.
Shake Shack’s buns are
going GMO free.
Friends with Benefits
are seeking restaurants with purpose and see an emphasis on giving back
as a differentiator, according to research from Nation’s
Restaurant News. Restaurants are taking new approaches to take
advantage of this. It’s not just about showing that you care, it’s about
tapping into guests’ passions and being a part of the story. It’s also a
very open transaction: guests allow themselves
to be marketed to for the sake of a charity. It’s a win-win.
(London) is a month-long pop-up restaurant that uses food as a vehicle for dialogue on conflict and peacebuilding.
Park Cafe Group
(San Francisco) donates $1 to CUESA for every person to sign up for their email
(San Francisco) has a monthly dinner, “Dine for a Cause” where 15% of
food and beverage sales are donated to a rotating local charity.
Instagram Does It Better
Facebook and Twitter are still important, chefs and restaurateurs have
found Instagram to be an ideal tool
for projecting brand message. As images of #eggporn, #foodporn and
#meatsweats flood our feeds, it’s clearer than ever that we eat with our
Top Instagram Marketing Trends:
lean toward “light and bright” – Goodbye candlelit dinner shots; nobody
wants to see food that looks dark, gray or grainy. The trend is to
use bright natural light when photographing food or drinks and white or
light/bright colored backgrounds to emphasize the ingredients, color
and texture of dishes.
away from the filters – When it comes to food/drink images, we’re
seeing less filtering and more brightening, contrasting, “lux-ing” and
a touch of saturation or warmth if the image calls for it. Food looks
fresh, not sepia-toned from 1970.
influencers – Savvy restaurateurs are establishing relationships with
key influencers by engaging with their content and hosting instagram
Following the Pack
the ever-growing popularity of Instagram, comes a new wave of social
media influencers and lifestyle bloggers
who impact the daily dining decisions of foodies across the nation.
More and more, diners are turning to social media for recommendations on
where to get the trendiest, most instagrammable dishes in the city. The
hashtags mentioned before, such as #eggporn,
#foodporn and #forkyeah make searching for delicious bites easier than
ever and bloggers continually contribute their recommendations.
Create Custom Experiences
bloggers in for a special meal, a cocktail class, or partner with
neighboring restaurants to curate a comprehensive neighborhood
Offer Special Deals to Followers
To thank bloggers and instagram influencers for their support, send out
a code or a secret password for a special promotion created
specifically for their followers.
bloggers to host their own events such as cocktail tastings to bring in
business and create buzz on social media. Instagram takeovers are
also a great success in gaining new followers.
The Boomers are Still Booming
Boomers are responsible for more than 50% of all vacation dollars spent
in the US. As these folks age, they aren’t traveling
alone—they’re bringing their grandchildren along with them. Hotels and
tourism companies are catering to these multigenerational family units.
The Nickelodeon Suites Resort (Orlando, FL) offers special Grandparent Packages designed to help make memories.
Scholar, a non-profit educational travel operator, leads a number of
intergenerational trips to adventurous destinations like Iceland, Kenya
the Galapagos Islands.
Concept Strategy Trends
Good Help is Hard to Find
year we saw restaurants in California coping with droughts and this
year restaurants across the country are dealing
with labor shortages. We’re seeing restaurants cope with this in
creative ways by streamlining operations. High quality batch cocktails,
all sorts of drinks on tap and automation in both the front and back of
house are driven by labor issues. We’re also seeing
increased attention from smart restaurateurs on creating
employee-focused environments to combat high-turnover rates. (More on
that tipping thing next!)
has developed a strong culture that puts employees first, with the idea
that employees who feel cared for will provide superior service to
guests. This has also resulted in some of the industry’s highest
retention rates at 87% percent for managerial staff and 60 percent for
Cheddar’s Casual Cafe
(National) incorporates recruitment incentives into its scheduling software and offers staggered bonuses for recommended hires.
Union Square Hospitality
York) recently announced a no-tipping policy, stating that the current
system did not allow for adequate recognition of back of house staff and
others who contribute to the service experience.
No Tipping - It’s at the Tipping Point
Meyer’s recent announcement that all Union Square Hospitality Group
restaurants will be “Hospitality Included”
is a game-changer. Many outside the industry may not recognize that
this is really about creating an employee-centered culture and one that
recognizes how the front and back of the house together create the
service experience.With so many regulations about
who may share in gratuities, doing away with the system all together
completely changes employee incentives. Fine dining seems to have a
higher tolerance for the risk of increased menu prices, at least for
now, but more casual and regional restaurants are
jumping in too.
Dirt Candy, (New York)
Next & Alinea,
Per Se (New
Bar Marco & The Livermore
friends at Technomic reported this summer that Millennials and
Generation Z customers now expect technology-friendly
service in all restaurants, especially with online ordering and mobile
payments. While this is definitely a bigger deal to fast casual, coffee
shops and pizza places, we’re seeing it creep beyond.
Eatsa (San Francisco) boasts, “No lines. No cashier. No
nonsense. We’re engineered to get you in and out fast.”
locations in Japan) delivers sushi via food “bullet
trains”—quick-moving conveyor belts that rocket your table’s choices
right to your seat. Back of house, most
of the food is also made by machine and the check is tallied like a
hotel room mini bar - items are added once a plate is removed from its
place on the conveyor belt.
Starbucks announced that in some locations guests will
be able to order for pick up via mobile app.
What’s Your Soundscape?
is a design element. Restaurants are designing both for noise control
and ambiance, working to create environments
that are good for conversation, but also amplify certain vibrant sounds
too. (kitchen, music, an energy etc..) Music choice is also important
with restaurants hiring well-known deejays to curate perfect playlists
that change from weekdays to weekends. What’s
playing? A mixture of hip hop, 90’s classics, and indie pop with a dash
(New York) utilizes a porous acoustic plaster that mops up noise like a giant sponge.
Four Horseman & Houseman
(New York) have acoustical plans that magnify selected environmental noise.
Palm House (San Francisco) has a playlist curated by international
You Had Me At Goodbye
way a dining experience ends is just as important as all of the service
steps that come before a check is dropped. Restaurants are
finding creative and fun ways to say goodbye, reinforcing a feeling of
hospitality, generosity, and gratitude for their visit.
leaves guest with chance of good luck. Guests who order their roast chicken receive a wishbone with their check.
Carson’s American Kitchen
(Sunriver) gives cotton candy to tables when their check is delivered.
York City), has gained loyal patrons for more than just their tasty
BBQ, each guest receives a complimentary apple cake at the end of their
Fast Casual Gets Boozy
casual is getting in the bar game and looking to profit from high
margin alcohol sales. This may reflect the
costs associated with higher quality ingredients that are being
demanded by guests. Or maybe they are just figuring out that a burrito
is better with a margarita?
Bow Wow Meow
emergence of pet friendly and pet-driven restaurant concepts. From pet
cafes, where the concept is actually
focused on the opportunity to hang out with kittens, to doggy happy
hours in bars and restaurants, there are lots of ways to bring your pet
Meow Parlour, (Chicago) and Meowtropolitian (Seattle) have kittens meowing around.
Art & Soul
(Washington DC) is a Joie de Vivre restaurant
that offers dogs the option to order steak and a beer. The beer is
non-alcoholic and made of chicken broth and malt extract. The steak is a
grilled and sliced sirloin.
Medium Rare (Washington DC) hosts a daily doggie happy
hour on the patio.
Governor Coumo in New York just passed a law that allows dogs on outdoor patios
of restaurants. Dog lovers and patio lovers, rejoice!
Granny’s Touched the Table
seems that some restaurateurs have raided their granny’s china cabinet.
The more ornate, the better. We are
seeing reinterpreted china, old English style plates, and lacey shapes
accenting tables from coast to coast. Crystal style cocktail glasses,
etched coupes, and modern takes on a classic crystal rocks glasses are
popping up on tables.
Chicago Athletic Association, (Chicago)
Saison, (San Francisco)
Trick Dog, (San Francisco)
the front and back of house, we’re seeing the return of the classic
Dickies style work shirt. No longer just
for repelling grease from the garage, chefs in some of the swankiest
kitchens like the durability and retro look. It’s being used on it’s own
and also underneath the ever-popular apron. While Hedley & Bennett
is booming and continuously cranking out apron
aweseomness, restaurants are also partnering up with local makers.
Every station in a restaurant has a specific function and now a specific
uniform. Each uniform makes a statement with many pieces custom or even
Chicago Athletic Association, (Chicago)
Saison, (San Francisco)
Trick Dog, (San Francisco)
are not just for peeing anymore. From the lighting to the artwork on
the wall, bathrooms are not just
functional. Restaurants and hotels are having more fun and seeing
signage as a way to carry their concept through. Also, the lines may be
blurring as gender identity becomes more of a topic for discussion.
Signage is less specific and communal sink areas
are becoming more popular.
The Year of Multiple Personalities
was developed by the AF&Co. team
from a combination of close industry observations, bi-coastal and
international travel, discussion with industry leaders, meetings with
hotel and restaurant clients, industry conferences, media interactions
and thousands of hours spent researching in hotels
and restaurants around the country. This year, the team polled a select
panel of industry experts to gain insight into the top trends emerging
in their respective fields, including Luigi Di Ruocco (VP of Sales and
Director of Marketing, Mr. Espresso), Carolyn
Wente (CEO and Fourth Generation Winegrower, Wente Vineyards), Jenny
Schwartz (Co-owner, Hopscotch), Tony Mantuano (Chef/Partner, Spiaggia),
and Kate Sumption (Operating Partner, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants).
Agency president, Andrew Freeman, agency Vice President, Amanda Marcello, and staff trendologist
will conduct live webinars Monday, November 9 at 3pm PST/6pm EST and
Tuesday, November 17, at 11am
PST/2pm EST, where they will present the annual trends report along
with in-depth discussion into how each trend will evolve in the coming
year. The webinars will include tips and tricks on adapting these trends
in the coming year. Following the presentation
the trends report will be available online at
Freeman & Co. is a high-energy hospitality agency with a unique
blend of expertise in marketing, publicity and creative services. The
team will do whatever it takes to build awareness for clients and
ultimately increase sales. AF&Co offers tailored, flexible programs
that include: creative/concept development, branding, recruiting,
graphic design, public relations, sales/marketing, training,
event management, and more depending on the clients’ needs. The
AF&Co team is creative, direct and fun, and focuses on the areas
that they are passionate about: restaurants and beverages, travel and
hotels, and lifestyle personalities and products. For more
afandco.com or follow them on
industry veteran, prior to opening AF&Co. 10 years ago, Andrew
worked at legendary New York venues including Windows on the World, the
Tea Room and the Rainbow Room. Eventually Andrew left New York to
become the Vice President of Public Relations and Strategic Partnerships
for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, based in San Francisco. He spent
ten years with Kimpton, launching the global brand
and over 40 hotels and restaurants. Andrew is currently the head of a
dynamic hospitality agency offering full service marketing, public
relations and consulting for hotels and restaurants. In the 10 years
since opening, the agency has concepted, launched
and promoted over 200 hotels and restaurants.