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What Restaurant Trends Should Stay Behind in 2019?

It is that time of year again, the end of the calendar and time to reflect on all the frantic highs, lows and trends of the year. 2019 was a year of change for restaurants. Delivery options expanded dramatically, with consumers across the nation adopting GrubHub, Uber Eats, DoorDash and all the other tech players. Seemingly every new restaurant was named after the owner's grandmother. Marketing efforts have gone high tech; with smartphones now in the pockets of almost every American adult, restaurants are going digital to find new customers. But what are the worst trends of the year? GrubStreet put together their list of the 10 worst restaurant trends, and we have some thoughts as well!

We’ll be the first to admit that furniture is our forté, not food, so we missed this particular trend; cafeteria-style restaurants. Apparently, these are trendy enough to annoy the good people at GrubStreet, and we can see why. Everyone loves a good salad bar now and then, but not every cuisine is suited to having their ingredients stacked layer by layer in a bowl. Especially at the prices such fresh food costs, we agree that perhaps a bit more service is in order.

Every city has their favorite restaurants, their icons that add to the local foodie landscape. A lot of times, their fare and style are embedded in the identity of the city itself, and outsider patrons are simply wannabes, imitating the locals. Well now, restaurant businesses everywhere are exploring the power of the internet, and a lot of previously local spots are expanding their reach. GrubStreet points to a popular pizza restaurant that sells pre packaged options for home dining, which obviously irks the usually friendly NY clientele. We feel the same way about our local creamery packaging their pints for Safeway. Don’t be a monster, save the lavender sorbet and earl grey banana splits for people willing to make the trip downtown.

Chicken sandwiches. Enough said, right? Everyone has heard the lore of Popeye’s chicken sandwich this year, many of us are sick of seeing it pop up on social media, others are just now discovering what drives the hype. Either way, chicken sandwiches have been around for a LONG time, these things aren’t new. What is new, apparently, is Popeye’s ability to make a very good one. Now you can find chicken sandwiches of every variety on menus at restaurants across the country (we tried some yesterday that featured marinara sauce, and no they were not great). Leave a good thing alone, keep it simple, and let’s all remember that it’s just a sandwich.

Here’s a trend that GrubStreet dislikes, but that we are quite fond of; experimental mezcal cocktails. The smokey sweet cousin to tequila has exploded in popularity, due to shifting consumer tastes and celebrity endorsements. Some people prefer to sip their mezcal neat or on ice, we think the beautiful flavor profiles are the perfect canvas for experimentation. Substitute it for the gin in a Negroni, shake it over ice with some mint, or add a splash to a cucumber cooler, the possibilities are endless, and we are ready to taste them all.

This last one didn't appear on GrubStreet's list, but it definitely makes ours. We've seen the trend of hard surfaces in restaurant designs starting to fade, and we hope that 2020 will be the year of fabric walls and plush seating. While Scandinavian inspired spaces filled with wood, cement, and stone surfaces are beautiful to look at, those materials do not absorb sound! Restaurants have become very loud spaces. Luckily, if Instagram is any indication, restaurant designers are moving towards softer materials that dampen noise, so we can all go back to enjoying the company of friends without screaming at each other.

What are your favorite and least favorite food and restaurant trends from 2019? Are you sick of “new American” cuisine? Do you hate that everyone from Arizona to Maine now loves tacos? And what trends do you see emerging for 2020? Check out Tablebases.com on social media, and let us know what you think.

Source: Grub Street