Dining trends in 2012

Just in time for the new year, OpenTable surveyed its restaurateur partners and VIP diners to determine the top 10 dining trends for the new year. Here’s what’s on the menu in 2012.
Just in time for the new year, OpenTable surveyed its restaurateur partners and VIP diners to determine the top 10 dining trends for the new year. Here’s what’s on the menu in 2012.

Top 10 dining trends for 2012

1. Mobile technology

More than two-thirds of diners (67 percent) are all for adding technology to the dining experience (iPad menus, anyone?), and nearly one in five restaurateurs (18 percent) plan to do so in the next year.

>>More vegan apps for the new year

2. Bread upon request

Nearly one-third of restaurants (32 percent) provide bread only upon request these days, even though 61 percent of patrons say they’d prefer to have bread on the table without asking.

>>Homemade vegan bread recipes

3. Fine-dining burgers

Three out of four diners (73 percent) like seeing fancy burgers on the fine-dining menu, but only half of restaurateurs (51 percent) have any interest in offering them.

>>Check out these tasty vegan dinner recipes!

4. Veggie desserts

Although 68 percent of diners are interested in desserts that incorporate vegetables, only 25 percent of restaurant owners offer them, although seven percent plan to add that menu item in 2012.

>>Our favorite vegan desserts

5. Menu narratives

Nearly nine in 10 diners (86 percent) want to hear the backstory on menu items, and almost half of restaurateurs are happy to share.

>>Top vegan restaurants

6. Breakfast all day

Diners and restaurateurs agree to disagree when it comes to breakfast items on lunch and dinner menus. Eighty-three percent of diners want to see it, but 58 percent of restaurant owners have no plans to indulge them.

>>We love breakfast! Check out our vegan breakfast recipes!

7.  Smaller portions

Seventy-two percent of diners appreciate smaller portion sizes and nearly one in five (18 percent) of restaurants have reduced their dish sizes in the past year, with another seven percent planning to do so in 2012.

>>The best portion control gadgets

8. Spice of life

Eighty-five percent of diners love spicy food (in fact, 33 percent say dishes are never hot enough!) and more than one-third of restaurants (38 percent) have introduced spicier offerings in the past year, with an additional seven percent making plans to do so in 2012.

>>Add spice to your vegan diet with these Mexican recipes

9. Sustainably-sourced ingredients

Eighty-six percent of diners think sustainable food is important, and 76 percent of restaurant owners already have it on the menu, while another 10 percent say they’ll add sustainably-sourced ingredients in the next year.

>>How to go green at the grocery store

10.  All in the family

Three in four restaurateurs say they’re fine with children at their eateries. However, two out of three diners said they’re not fans of dining out near mini-foodies.
 
OpenTable also took a look back at 2011 to determine the best restaurants. Check out the Top 100 Restaurants of the Year.

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