Restaurant.com, an online restaurant deal resource, has polled 106 restaurants throughout the quick-service, fast casual and full-service segments to gain insight on 2013 culinary trends.
Respondents' top predictions for the New Year include:
Healthy: Sixty-four percent of restaurants surveyed noted a customer demand for healthy menu options and they're responding accordingly: 80 percent of restaurants say they will add healthier menu items in 2013. Fifty-two percent of restaurants surveyed selected healthy options as the most influential factor in planning their 2013 menus, followed by vegetarian options (39 percent) and gluten-free options (38 percent).
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Vegetables: As consumers demand healthier options, vegetables will have a more prominent position on menus. Vegetable dishes ranked No. 2 on the list of most popular food trends for 2013 as voted by the surveyed restaurants, with 43 percent picking them to be an actual trend. For measure, 62 percent of restaurants said they will feature locally-sourced produced this year.
Comfort food: In spite of the healthy movement seen elsewhere in the survey, restaurants selected comfort food as the most popular trend for 2013, with 50 percent of respondents selecting it over newer trends such as spicy foods (37 percent), mini foods (34 percent) and small plates (39 percent).
Drinks: Specialty cocktails, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, are thought to be growing in popularity, with 35 percent of respondents selecting them as a 2013 trend.
Technomic also predicted beverage differentiation, including fresh fruit beverages, natural energy drinks, housemade sodas and more.
New items: Eighty-five percent of restaurants surveyed plan to add new items to their menus in 2013, though it may come at a price: 70 percent of restaurants expect to raise prices this year.
Read more about trends and statistics.