Everyone wants to know what the future holds, and the good folks at Nation’s Restaurant News have given us a peek at the future of restaurant trends.  It is interesting to see what’s brewing on the front lines of the restaurant industry, although I bet a lot of those “hot trends” will burn out before they get anywhere — and even more won’t make their way here to Richmond at all.

(from Pushing Daisies)
Maybe Richmond will get one of these?

The one that they are most confident in is — pies.  Not only sweet pies, but savory ones, too.  From what the article says, the pie shop is the new cupcake shop.  I guess it makes for a good headline (and no denying that pies are tasty!), but there are other predictions they make that I’ve already seen happening locally:

The new mom and pop. Self-financed restaurants built on limited budgets are growing in number. “This is an economic decision,” he said. “There are a lot of people out there who still want to open up restaurants, and it’s a good opportunity to look at real estate in a down economy.” The restaurants are typically small and the owners are extremely involved. Some examples are eVe in Berkeley, Calif., and Sons & Daughters in San Francisco.
As for this being a “new” trend, I wonder where they’ve been?  I pretty much exclusively deal with this type of operator, and from everything I’ve ever heard that’s been the same for our company for the past 36 years.  If it’s becoming more prominent lately, then that could explain why things have been so busy lately (see this post I put up from just last week for more on that).

•  One-ingredient restaurants. “Restaurateurs are taking one ingredient and building full restaurants around them,” Freeman said. Following on the several-year trend of gourmet burgers, the trend is extending to grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs and sliders. “We’re predicting perhaps a peanut butter restaurant next or a big biscuit restaurant,” he said.

Looks like City Dogs has been onto something — they’ve certainly done well, with two very busy locations now (Shockoe Slip & the Fan.  I wonder what other concepts we’ll see that will play with this one-ingredient format.

What do you think the biggest trends for restaurants in Richmond will be for 2011?  What are you hoping will be the new trends?

3 Thoughts on “Restaurant trends for 2011”

  • Nathan,
    What about the trends for markering these places? If they dont have websites with thier menus, specials etc. How are they going stamd out? We do have a lot restaraunts in #RVA

  • Some of that came up during the discussion at Morton’s, actually. While marketing is always important, sometimes going the opposite direction of cutting-edge marketing can work to a restaurant’s advantage if they can rely on other strengths.

    Cafe Rustica is a prime example of that. Andy does not follow the usual route of keeping a strong web presence (or any intentional web presence at all), but he has a very loyal following. I think that’s one of the strengths of the current internet landscape, if you consistently deliver good value and a great experience then your fans will talk to one another and spread the word whether you are there to promote the discussion or not.

    Marketing gimmicks help, and a lot of restaurants wouldn’t be able to get by without staying on top of marketing trends. It just helps reinforce that there isn’t any one path to success.

  • Another great example of success sans the marketing and/or web presence is “Friend or Pho”. I live across the street. There is no reason White Dog should have missed my patronage. But it did. For an entire year. Their predecessor, however, capitalized on their new management and wait staff to bring in the clientele, and from what I have seen from the dozen or so times I have been there in the past couple of months, and from my front porch, they nailed it.

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