Restaurant operators are still struggling to lure consumers to spend money on dining out. Statistics are so grim that research concerns like Technomic are pointing out that while sales are still declining in sectors like full service, they appear to be declining at a slower rate as we close out 2009. It’s little wonder that operators are looking to everything from menu overhauls to special pricing deals to increase traffic.
As restaurant owners adjust their menus for 2010, they’re hoping to appeal to the tastes of consumers who are still dining out as well as appeal to the environmental concerns of these consumers. Here’s what Restaurants & Institutions predicts for menu trends in 2010:
Comfort Meals (value-based) – Look for an increase in old standbys like pot roast and meat loaf.
Asian/Latin Fusion – As the percentages of Asian and Hispanics increase nationwide, restaurant operators are appealing to both demographics by fusing the favorite flavors of these ethnic groups.
Midday specials – While consumers are going out less at night, many find that dining out for lunch is affordable. To respond to this trend, operators will offer more lunch deals.
Beer – Consumers have decided that ordering wine or cocktails with a meal is too expensive. But beer is affordable. Restaurant operators are also expected to promote products of local breweries as a nod to the locavore movement.
Burgers – Nothing says value like burgers. But restaurants will be dressing up those burgers to appeal to consumers who are looking for a little extra when ordering this item.[Sources: Technomic releases, 2009; Perlik, Allison, Menu Trends in 2010, Restaurants & Institutions, 12.01.09]