Experts Predict the Top Restaurant Industry Trends of 2016

January 2016
By: Olivia Terenzio, OpenTable

It’s a new year, and there’s no shortage of new challenges and opportunities for the restaurant industry. From minimum wage hikes and tech innovations to guests’ evolving tastes and preferences, it seems restaurants are constantly breaking new ground to stay current in an ever-competitive landscape.

We asked some of the top chefs, restaurateurs, and experts in the industry to share their predictions for restaurants in 2016. Here are the trends and transformations they expect to see in food, drinks, business, and beyond (and take a look back at last year’s predictions to see where experts got it right).

Health and Sustainablity

I think there will be less pork fat used in cooking and more of an emphasis on health, which has already begun to take shape. Regionalism with a focus on sustainably sourced foods will continue to take the center stage.”

— John Besh, Chef and Founder, Besh Restaurant Group

Diners are more conscious than ever about the quality of their food and where it comes from. As a result, tastes have changed and healthy foods are here to stay. “Vegetables will move from an interesting supporting character to the dynamic lead,” Kevin predicts. “Eating healthier is no longer a trend, its the norm, and this is just the evolution of that movement.”

Access to fresh, healthy, great-tasting ingredients is absolutely essential, so we will also see chefs and restaurants starting to grow ingredients themselves. Restaurant teams are creating farms and gardens to supply food for their concepts.