Restaurant Trends Part 1: What’s in Store for 2019?

exciting restaurant trends in 2019

Posted: Dec. 13, 2018

Sour foods and joyful décor are just two of the exciting restaurant trends in 2019.

With great excitement, we announce that world-class restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman have released their annual industry trends report. Their clients include major chains and prestigious restaurants around the world, and their predictions tend to be right on the money. Below we reveal what’s in store for the restaurant industry in 2019.

Eastern Foods Are Finally Recognized as Distinctly Different Cuisines

At long last, foods from eastern republics that once made the Soviet Union will be identifiable. Although immigrants from countries like Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan have been in the United States for some time now, their cuisines have been lumped together with Turkish food. And, as the report aptly states, even Turkish food has been reduced to doner kebabs and hummus.

Foods from this region are much more complex than people realize. Because they show new approaches to common dishes such as noodles, lentils, and eggplant, Baum + Whiteman expects American consumers to embrace the differences as they continue to learn more about food and explore exotic cuisines.

The cornerstones of these cuisines are jam-packed with flavor: Well-spiced meats are mixed with tart fruits, and favorite herbs like parsley and oregano are born again when combined with spinach, cilantro, and garlic chives in the style of Kazakhstani cooking. Pastry crusts are married to salty, soft cheeses and stews or frittatas become newly sensational.

In 2019, expect this world of cooking to be paid more attention to. As single-item restaurants continue to pop up and grow their reach, it won’t take long for someone to be inspired by their culinary styles and modernize a classic dish from the region.

Sour Foods Continue to Enthrall

In December 2017, we shared how Korean and Filipino food popularity would rise throughout 2018, and the one key reason being their emphasis on sour flavors. In American cooking, sweet and salty flavors are the most emphasized. Sour flavors are almost completely ignored, with the exception of lemonades or Key lime pie; however, now you see new sour flavors being added. Kimchee, for example, (which has become a well-known food item) is fused with American barbecued meats or layered into Mexican tacos. Filipino food, which uses vinegars for dipping sauces or to braise and marinate meats, has inspired consumers and chefs to integrate vinegar more.

For 2019, Baum + Whiteman predict that lip-puckering sour foods will continue to be explored. And we are going to learn from none other than the eastern cuisines mentioned above, and most especially, from Persian cooking.

Since fleeing Iran in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Iranians have mostly settled in California and that’s where the most Persian restaurants have been until recently. Persian restaurants are opening across the country, and it’s no wonder that they are inspiring chefs and restaurateurs. At the core of its flavor profile is sour foods; Persian cooking includes sour oranges, fresh and dried limes, tamarind rubs, pomegranate dressings, and rhubarb. Sour foods are mixed with meats and salads, and even into refreshing teas or water-based drinks.

Just like Filipino and Korean foods enthralled the country this year, we expect Persian cooking to do the same in 2019—and probably for years after.

Chinese Street-Food Is the Latest Single-Item Restaurant Trend

The single-item restaurant trend was a big question mark back in 2017, but as we look ahead into the new year, we think it’s here to stay. Entrepreneurs are focusing their attention away from gimmicky food items and more on dishes that can be eaten as a snack or satisfying meal. The service style is fast casual, and the target customer is urban millennials. Since they embraced the Hawaiian poke trend so well, entrepreneurs are hoping this consumer group will now take to the Chinese street food “bing.”

Resembling a burrito and prepared two ways, one with a wheat wrap and one resembling flaky crepe, bings can be filled with traditional or inventive fillings. There are a few bing-focused restaurants already in the United States, and all are aiming for a piece of the Chipotle-consumer pie: easily replicated chain store concepts with contemporary interior design and a focus on excellent customer service.

The “bing” trend also spotlights the continuing fascination with fast-casual dining concepts. Traditional sit-down dining will get customers, however, it’s obvious that snacking-style dining is significantly changing the industry. 

Interior Design Becomes Fun Again

Exposed brick and faux-library shelves, eco-chic designs, and surgical, white-box interiors have dominated décor themes the last few years. While interior design became increasingly chic and cool, fewer exciting colors were used. Is this about to change? Baum + Whiteman see next season’s latest fashion lines as indicators that “giddy and gaudy” are coming back to restaurant design. The trend prediction is based on the idea that there is “enough seriousness in the world,” restaurants should be decorative and joyful just for the fun of it.

See why a restaurant point-of-sale system is never out of style. 


Posted: Dec. 13, 2018 | Written By: Emma Alois


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