Hyper-local sourcing.  Healthy children’s meals.  Sustainable seafood.

These are just a few of the hottest trends on restaurant menus in 2011, according to the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot” survey of more than1,500 professional chefs.

Here are the Top 10 Menu Trends:

  1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
  2. Locally grown produce
  3. Sustainability as a culinary theme
  4. Nutritious kids’ dishes
  5. Hyper-local items (e.g., restaurant gardens, DIY butchering)
  6. Children’s nutrition
  7. Sustainable seafood
  8. Gluten-free / allergy-conscious items
  9. Back-to-basics cuisine
  10. Farm-branded ingredients

What’s driving these trends?  According to Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association, these trends “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.”

2011 Operational Trends

When chefs were asked about this year’s top operational trends:

  • 30% of the chefs mentioned mobile food trucks and pop-up restaurants
  • 18% cited restaurants with gardens
  • 17% said social media marketing

For over 25 years, The Kinsa Group has delivered the high performing food & beverage industry professionals your company needs to compete in today’s competitive and rapidly changing marketplace.  Simply put, food and beverage recruiting and assessment is all we do.  Contact us today to find out how our unique food & beverage industry specialization can help you capitalize on these emerging trends.

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