Mid-Year Restaurant Trend Update


Can you believe it’s already June! In January, we boiled down the industry’s hottest predictions into trends you can actually use. Today, we’re here with updates. See how some of the trends evolved and check out a few new ones, too.

Low Alcohol Cocktails Hit the Bars

spring cocktails

Mildly spirited cocktails are gaining popularity across the country. From specialty spritzers to foamy froths, low-alcohol beverages—also known as low alcohol by volume (ABV)—give guests the adult flavors they crave without boozy buzz. This is great news for restaurants as you can charge a high-ball price for a light-alcohol drink. However, to get in on this trend, it pays to be creative by combining unique flavors and adding complexity to serve a complete cocktail experience.

Chicken is HOT

bbq chicken

From whole roasted chicken to spicy wings, chicken is everywhere. Not only does this protein yield high margins, it’s easy for restaurants to prepare and customize…best of all it’s in high in demand by diners. In fact, Wikipedia lists more than 100 franchises that focus on this versatile and tasty fowl(1).

Fried Chicken is HOTTER

fried chicken

Fire up your deep fryer! In January, we predicted this trend would be HOT for 2016. Now we predict that fried chicken will be flying high for years to come. Crispy, crunchy and completely addictive, fried chicken can be found on the menus of every type of restaurant, from fast casual to high-end eateries. Chefs are getting creative with it –and you can too—by serving it with gravy, in tacos, with waffles and even with ice cream (2).

Tipping is Still Tops…For Now


In our January restaurant trends post, we mentioned that Joe’s Crab Shack® was experimenting with eliminating tipping. While we tip our hats to them for trying something so revolutionary, they’ve reported(3) that it didn’t take with many consumers for two reasons: consumers didn’t want to take away the incentive for good service and they didn’t trust that management would actually increase the pay. Stay tuned! This test isn’t over…the company is still pursing alternative ways of compensating its staff.

At Restaurant.com, we know trends aren’t an annual event. So we keep our eyes (and stomachs) open all year long, so our restaurant partners can serve up the freshest ideas…and stay a step ahead of the competition.


1 List of Chicken Restaurants on Wikipedia

2 Food News & Trends for Your Restaurant Success

3 Early Experimenter with No tipping Says It’s Not Working

4 22 Low-Alcohol Cocktails for Mellow Evenings