Trend Setters

Restaurant folk are a resilient lot.

One need look no further than last month's IHMRS Show that took place in New York City's Javits Center. Some 12 days after Superstorm Sandy was done ravaging the United States' Eastern seaboard the people of New York City stood tall and said, "Sure, we're ready to host a huge international convention."

And they did.

The overwhelming takeaway for this visitor: What storm? Of course, if you have turned on the local NY or national news, you know that people nearer the coast are still hurting and will need time and assistance in rebuilding despite their great resilience. But the hospitality industry — hotels, restaurants, food carts — went on in Manhattan without missing a beat. Behind the scenes there had to be tremendous disruptions with purveyors, employees, commutes and great challenges for family members and friends alike. Even at this writing people in the region are still without electricity and heat!

Through it all, the hospitality industry in the Big Apple managed to treat visitors like we were the only thing that mattered.

Part and parcel of such resilience is the willingness to be open to change. Hospitality, reflective as it is of the great diversity and malleability that exists in the larger society that it serves, has to embrace change in order to survive and prosper.

It's always tricky to try to identify which fads will become trends and which trends will become movements within the ever-changing kaleidoscope that we call foodservice. In an industry that puts so much stock on novelty, in order to impress and attract an increasingly distracted public, picking the changes that will prove to be lasting ones always represents a formidable challenge.

For example, armed with more perfect knowledge, imagine how much money we could have saved operators by telling them to simply resist the temptation to use the color mauve in 1989, as the brass and fern bar era came to an abrupt end.

So, here in this the final issue of 2012, we take a look at what might stick in 2013. Sous vide, food trucks, sustainable growth, greener everything, locally grown food, healthier food options (especially for kids), fast fine, and more all vie for our attention as trends that may prove to be game-changers in 2013.

Amelia Levin, our fine regular contributing editor, tackles these 2013 trends and more in her inimitable style.

P.S. Please consider donating money to The American Red Cross for those in need: www.redcross.org.

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