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5 restaurant trends for summer 2024 & beyond

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F&Bar, Brooklyn, NY.

By Sophie Brochu

As the restaurant landscape continues to shift, the latest trends and patterns can inspire new ideas to generate revenue and grow your business. 

Omakase branches out

A Japanese concept meaning ‘leave it to the chef’, omakase is typically associated with high end sushi counters. Now, we’re seeing creative omakase menus expand far beyond vinegared rice and fish. 

F&Bar, for example, bill themselves as “an omakase food and beverage experience with chef-driven craft cocktails and creative snacks.” With location in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, chef John Gladish explores unique flavors tailored to the guests’ individual experiences. A mini tamale, for example, is paired with a cotija cheese and tajin beverage, or a beet salmon bite is served with a zesty kick of horseradish gin.

For further reading, Michelin recently featured nine of the best omakase restaurants that are not sushi, though many are still deeply rooted in Japanese tradition. 

While you don’t necessarily need to break out an omakase menu at your restaurant, you can get creative with set menus, custom pairings, and experiential dining all in the spirit of trust

 

Turn-key openings

We all know that restaurant margins are notoriously thin, and in this economy, it’s no surprise that new businesses are relying on built-out spaces to get the doors open. 

When Savannah’s legendary Back in the Day Bakery shuttered in February of 2024, FARM Hospitality’s Flora & Fauna opened shop in a matter of weeks with a neighborhood bakery-coffee house-supper club hybrid. Chef Brandon Carter’s team pay homage to the original bakery with design details and one menu staple. “Cheryl’s biscuit is going to be staying on the menu,” he tells Garden & Gun

Additionally, Eater called out the resurrected restaurant trend happening specifically in Los Angeles, where new ownership is giving new life to beloved businesses. Cathy Chaplin writes, “The potential benefits of stepping into an existing business is considerable if the restaurant holds a nostalgic place in the collective imagination.”

So if you’re opening a new space or expanding your business, don’t be afraid to embrace what’s already there. 

 

Creative experiences drive business

Thoughtful and exciting experiences provide the opportunity for you to showcase your brand while driving business and engaging guests. Many restaurants are offering multiple ongoing experiences simultaneously.

Beckon, for example, the innovative chef’s counter in Denver, currently offers a tasting menu inspired by phases of the moon, a Major Tom-themed takeover in the dining room, summer evenings on the patio, and a backstage table in the sommelier’s salon, where diners can enjoy more action and dialogue with the staff.

This trend applies to casual businesses just the same in the form of courtyard cookouts, collaborative menus, dinner theater, and more. 

The key for restaurants is to know your clientele in order to create experiences that will appeal to them. 

If you’re not sure where to start, Tock has you covered with inspiration and new features that drive experiences. 

 

AI influences menu design 

Everyone’s talking about artificial intelligence making its mark in the hospitality industry, but how is it actually happening? According to Forbes, AI is already “revolutionizing menu design by analyzing customer preferences and market trends.”

Does this mean that you should engineer a brand-new menu with the use of machine algorithms? Not without the data necessary to recognize patterns, trends, and consumer behavior. And according to Fast Casual, this can be done “through POS platforms that tie in AI-powered tools.”

If all of this sounds intimidating, it’s worth noting that many businesses likely already have a good idea of what sells and what doesn’t, or what your guests tend to prefer. AI is simply about leveraging this on a larger scale. 

F&B Insights is a platform that claims to leverage nationwide market intelligence in order to help restaurants utilize AI-driven menu pricing.

 

‘Bleisure’ diners get curious

Business-leisure travel isn’t new per se. In fact, “bleisure” was coined all the way back in 2009, however, with the rise of remote workers in a post-pandemic world, bleisure travel has taken off in recent years. And according to BBC Worklife, “The modern bleisure traveler tends to be culturally curious, not to mention interested in food.”

So how can your business appeal to this demographic? Consider targeting tourists and travelers in your marketing efforts. This could mean advertising in hotel magazines and publications, making connections with concierge teams, and optimizing your website for this audience. Adding a blog to your site for SEO purposes, or using a translation plugin can help you reach a wider audience.

Sophie Brochu is a lead copywriter at Tock and the co-owner of Brochu’s Family Tradition, a throwback restaurant in Savannah’s Starland District. Brochu’s was recently named Best New Restaurant by Bon Appétit and The New York Times.

 

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