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Restaurant trends for 2010, a taste odyssey.

The countdown will soon begin...
The countdown will soon begin...

The marketing research firm Mintel, released its predictions for upcoming trends in restaurants recently. It seems that 2010 will be the foodie’s year of simplicity, freshness, convenience, and diversity.

Trend #1: Classically simple

Fundamentally there is nothing simpler than the burger, the all-American icon, which has been an extremely popular menu item this year. Even shows like Top Chef Masters, and The Next Food Network Star had their contestants showcase their burger crafting expertise. In addition, other “nostalgic and decadent pleasures” such as bacon, lobster, classic cocktails, and milk and cookies, will be the new focus.

Trend #2: Restaurant-grown

Although a lot of restaurants have already been growing and utilizing their own produce, or locally sourcing the ingredients, the study indicates this will continue on and gain popularity into the next year. “House original” items will not be limited to produce, but also include breads, cheeses, and beverages as well.

Trend #3: Dining out…in

Many chains and restaurant brands have been doing this for some time. Instead of you going to them, they come to you via the grocery store (think of T.G.I Fridays, Boston Market, and White Castle). Due to the fledgling economy less people are eating out, so many more restaurants will be teaming up with the retail industry to maintain market visibility for them and ease of purchase for the consumer.

Trend #4: Inherent health

Most of Americans are either trying to, or would like to eat healthier these days. This will evidently be the same calling card for the upcoming year. Restaurants will be answering that call providing menus that offer health conscious and tasty items that include Omega-3, fiber, anti-oxidants, and vitamins.

Trend #5: Regional ethnic

Now that dim sum, ravioli, and burritos (to name a few) are like second nature to the palates of most Americans, other ethnic foods (that are region specific, both in and out of the U.S) will gain wide appeal.