Roundup of 2016 trends and predictions so far


We’ve come to that time of year again.  Whether its top restaurant publications or research firms or associations of operators, everyone has their own take on what will be big next year.  Whether it’s the Top 10 or 20 things You’ll See or survey of chefs, they are all trying to predict the future. But that’s all they are, predictions. We’ve done it too, last year we published 10 things to expect in 2015, many of which became true and got even bigger than we could have anticipated.  Predictions are fun, they might come true exactly, they might not, some will be half true, some just never materialize.  But in the moment, we can all make calculated guesses.

This year we want to try something a little different.  Instead of brainstorming and researching and coming up with a set of predictions we think might come to be in 2016, we’ve decided to leave the lists up to the best sources we can find.

Below, take a tour across the web, in our compilation of trend predictions, to see what everyone else is saying and you can make your own judgements about what you think is going to be a “trend” or “popular” in 2016.  We’ll stick with analyzing the hard data of what’s on menus and how those menus have changed in the last year.  Keep an eye out in a few weeks for our State of the Menu 2016, where we’ll review the past 12 months of data from the largest dataset of foodservice menus available and present you with “just the facts.”

Just the Facts

In terms of trend predictions, we’ve always been fans of Baum + Whiteman.  Last year they predicted a shift in no-tipping would trickle down, and the rise of front facing technology.  One thing they got wrong, increased uses for wearables like Google Glass. I don’t think we’ll see that anytime soon.  As for this year, they are playing it pretty safe with #1, uberizing restaurants seems to be old news, but they do take it a step further predicting star chefs partnering up with meal kits, which we think could make 2016 very interesting for some.

Uber Eats

Andrew Freeman & Co is another fantastic source for predictions and forward looking trends. This year the prediction that made me sit up straight was the idea of alternative uses for traditionally discarded bits and pieces. Freeman says that Chefs will be embracing this trend for reduce waste, save money and as a differentiator. Another interesting one is the predicted rise of Hawaiian foods.  These beef tongue buns at Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco look fantastic.

Hawaiian food

Always on top of the trends is the NRA with their survey of chefs, now in its 10th year.  Some of them are even in line with what we predicted in our What was Expected article on Restaurant Business Online earlier this year.  Many are similar to last years, so that either means more of the same or things didn’t boil over to the point where it’s old news.  You be the judge.

Revisit the Food Genius blog in January to download our “2016 State of the Menu” to see what the menu data we’ve collected can tell us about what happened last year and how that will impact these menu trends in the future.  Until then, happy eating!

Below is a complete roundup of all the 2016 predictions we could find that are worth their salt!


NRN 2016 Restaurant Trends

Baum+Whiteman 2016 Trends

NRN 2016 Beverage Trends

NRN 14 Hot Food Trends for 2016

National Restaurant Association Annual Survey of Chefs


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