Every Year, Andrew Freeman & Co. (AF&Co.), a leading SF hospitality consulting firm releases a trend report based on their knowledge of industry practices and innovations. This year’s theme isEvolution: Revolution a look at how hotel, restaurant, and marketing trends will shape the world of travel and hospitality in 2013. Andrew and his team graciously agreed to share some of the top trends of 2012 and predictions for 2013 with the Union Square team, so we can keep you up-to-date on what to expect in the coming year around here!
**Guest Post by Andrew Freeman, President and Founder of Andrew Freeman & Co.
We’re Really Open – Venues are breaking down the walls and eliminate the barriers between front and back of house. Open kitchens are back. Front desks are informal or completely missing, and the “back of house” is now up front.
Ex.: Open kitchen with noodle performances at Martin Yan’s flagship M.Y. China (San Francisco, CA)
Blowing Out the Bar – Restaurants are forgetting fine dining and blowing out the bar, enhancing the menu with casual food for appetites of all sizes. Usually, this means there’s only one menu of sophisticated, approachable and shareable food, including enticing bar snacks and heartier options.
Ex.: The special occasion Duck Club at the Monterey Plaza Hotel became Schooner’s Coastal Kitchen + Bar (Monterey, CA)
Healthy Appetites – Hotels are putting the “well” in welcome with guestrooms designed with fitness in mind and healthy menus.
Ex.: Westin Boston Waterfront (Boston, MA) lends runners gear and leads regular running tours with their running concierge
Going Against the Grain – Gluten free-menus are everywhere. Restaurants are really going out of their way to accommodate this population, and we expect even more options in 2013.
Ex.: Puccini & Pinetti (San Francisco, CA) offers a full gluten free menu.
Keep On Truckin’ – Food trucks haven’t run out of gas, they’re becoming permanent fixtures, as restaurateurs take advantage of the smaller build-out fees and increased mobility.
Ex.: JW Marriott at LA Live (Los Angeles, CA) uses food carts to handle lunch business, and the Grand Hyatt in Union Square has used a food truck to help promote their new restaurant OneUp
Feeling Used – Businesses are embracing adaptive reuse, using retro found items and flea market finds for menus, check presenters, decor, souvenirs and more.
Ex.: Little Serow’s vintage dress uniforms purchased from street markets
Box Steals - Special all inclusive deals are a hit this year. Even pre-packaged parties such as weddings, birthdays and bar mitzvahs with inclusive pricing and all the details are big.
Ex.: Baker & Banker Bakery’s (San Francisco, CA) Cupcake Kit to Go gives you everything you need for your own cupcake decorating party
Game Time – Hotels are beginning to offer games and gaming services in the lobby and for meetings and break-out sessions. Fun for the kids, more fun for the adults.
Ex.: Hotel Monaco Seattle offers Guitar Hero for meetings
Boot-Up Call – Hotels are providing extras for all those gadgets everyone forgets: chargers, power cords, flash drives, camera batteries, and connection cords for all the most common devices.
Ex.: Parc 55 Hotel plans to offer a tech menu including phone and laptop chargers for a small daily fee
Call for a Toast! – Everyone’s “toast”ing. Not just for breakfast, you could call it crostini but why; perfect for snacking and for sharing.
Ex.: The Bachelor Farmer (Minneapolis, MN) and Park Tavern (San Francisco, CA) offer an entire section of “Toasts” on their menu
The Perfect Fixe – Restaurants are returning to fixed price menus, and not just for fine dining. The pre-theatre prix fixe is alive and well, as are all kinds of prix fixe menus at every price point.
Ex.: Eleven Madison Park (New York, NY) moved to an all fixed-price menu
One Bite Wonders – Pay per the piece pre-appetizer courses priced less than $5 each are beginning to appear on menus
Ex.: Lapsang souchong tea deviled eggs with Chinese bacon at E&O Asian Kitchen (San Francisco, CA)
The New Amari Can – Bitter herbs are taking root as herbal fortified spirits are taking over the cocktail lists, call it the bitter-sweet revenge.
Ex.: Grand Café (San Francisco, CA) offers Chartreuse on tap
Put your money where your vermouth is – Restaurants are beginning to offer distinctive small batch and homemade vermouth.
Ex.: Scala’s Bistro's (San Francisco, CA) Apertivo Hour offers vermouth flights
Spin the Bottle – Premade cocktails, carbonated, and bottled are ready to serve. Call it the new bottle service.
Ex.: Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen serves seasonally changing bottled cocktails from the Paloma to the Pimm’s Cup
Drink Your Veggies - Veg out with new vegetable flavored cocktails with unexpected savory flavors. Just don’t drink five a day.
Ex.: Fifth Floor (San Francisco, CA) serves the “Beet & Bruised” with beet infused applejack, and the “Dram at Mt. Tam” flavored with kale
Andrew Freeman & Co. is a full service boutique consulting agency with a unique blend of expertise in marketing, publicity and creative services. 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 focuses on the areas that they are passionate about: restaurants and wine, travel and hotels, and lifestyle personalities and products. For more information, visit AF&Co here or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.