Restaurant, Spa, and Hotel Trends for 2012

Friday January 6, 2012

Time to place your bets! Andrew Freeman & Co. recently launched their 2012 Trends Report - The Passion Collection to the public with their predictions for next year's hottest trends, tapping into the pulse of top restaurants, spas, and hotels.

This comprehensive list predicts the top trends that will be influencing the hospitality industry in the coming year. Andrew Freeman & Co. had big success in the past spotting the latest trends, but this year the list is better than ever!

Read on to find out more. Drum roll please!

#1: Trend of the Year: This Spud's for You!
2012 will be the year of the potato! Watch out for french fry menus that let guests choose the cut, crispness, and sauce; make-your-own mashers with mix-ins; or custom cut chips with dusts and dips to order. Everyones' chipping in. Be sure to check out our video describing this trend in action here!

Example: French Fry Menu at Jasper's Corner Tap & Kitchen (San Francisco, CA)

#2: Breakfast Club
Breakfast is the new dinner. Everyone loves brunch and breakfast foods. Restaurants are re-interpreting breakfast for lunch, dinner and late night menus. Waffle sandwiches, savory turnovers, eggs any way, pigs in a blanket, hollandaise topped sandwiches and French toast or bread pudding served either sweet or savory. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day - no matter what time it comes.

Example: Bruxie Gourmet Waffle Sandwiches (Orange, CA)

#3: Melt in Your Hands
Is grilled cheese the new hamburger? We think so. Restaurants devote special evenings or entire menus to this childhood favorite, loved by kids of all ages. From fast-casual to high end, expect more restaurants to develop their own signature sandwiches from high end to low.

Example: Not Your Mother's Grilled Cheese Night at Brick & Bottle (Corte Madera, CA)

#4: Shop & Drop
New lobby bars and marketplaces are offering enticing places to grab a quick drink, gourmet snack, espresso, light meal or edible souvenir, any time of the day. Make yourself at home with self-service snacks or treats to bring back to your room or take with you. One size feeds all!

Example: CanteenM at CitizenM Hotels (multiple locations, worldwide)

#5: Use your Noodle
Noodles are nothing new, but innovative and exciting restaurants are highlighting this ancient art with glorified exhibition style hand-pulled noodles. It's dinner and a show.

Example: Hand Pulled Noodles at Chef Martin Yan's M.Y. China (Opening Spring 2012 in San Francisco, CA)

#6: Warm Front
Hotels are warming up by eliminating the formal front desk. Enjoy a personal greeting at the door from a Welcome Ambassador and special gifts or treats in reward for repeat business. We have entered a new thank you economy that offers the combination of a curb-side check-in and coming home to a Jewish mother.

Noodles are nothing new, but innovative and exciting restaurants are highlighting this ancient art with glorified exhibition style hand-pulled noodles. It's dinner and a show.

Example: No front desk at Hotel Cipriani (Beverly Hills, CA)

#7: Classy Vacations
Offer do-it-yourself experiences for every type, including, cooking classes, gardening opportunities, lessons on pickling or preserving, even massage instruction as guests seek out experiential vacations and want to get involved.

Examples: Garden tours at Wente Vineyards (Livermore, CA); Cooking classes or guided hikes at Cavallo Point Lodge (Sausalito, CA)

#8: Healthy Indulgences
Health-conscious diners will be satisfied with more nutritious meals and drinks that offer real appeal. Expect signature, whole grain salads and sides, a selection of plates available in smaller sizes, menu items that appeal to particular dietary needs, and fructose free sodas. Not your typical light reading. Check out our video clip outlining this trend here.

Example: Prawn Salad on the Gluten-Free Menu at E&O Trading Co. (San Francisco, CA)

#9: Thai the Knot
Exciting, creative takes on modern Thai cuisine are becoming some of the hottest destinations in town as diners become more adventurous and love the evocative flavors. An increasingly savvy clientele will come to appreciate focus on regional Thai variations.

Example: Thai Lobster Bisque with Kaffir Lime, Lemon Grass & Coconut Milk at Level III (San Francisco, CA)

#10 Keep the Change
Temporary restaurants are popping up in incredible settings: perched above a museum, on a cliff, in a park, or nestled tree top with food delivered by zip line. More permanent restaurants can regularly change their concept to reinvent themselves and keep guests coming back for something new or different. Take advantage of temporary infrastructure to keep costs down, and add immediacy to drive traffic up. You definitely don't want to miss the video clip of this trend!

Example: Pop-up Hotels by Living Architecture (multiple locations, England)


Andrew Freeman & Co. is a high-energy hospitality consulting agency with a unique blend of expertise in marketing, publicity and creative services based out of San Francisco & New York.

The team helps clients build awareness and ultimately increase sales. AF&Co. offers tailored, flexible programs that include creative/concept development, branding, recruiting, graphic design, public relations, sales, marketing, new media, training, event management and more; depending on the clients' needs.

To learn more, email [email protected] or go to: