|San Francisco, CA, December 12, 2007 -- Today, Andrew Freeman
& Co. (AF&&Co.), a leading hospitality and restaurant consulting
firm, released its 2008 Trend Watch list. Tapping into the pulse of the
hospitality and restaurant marketplace for the coming year, the Trend Watch
lists the top restaurant/bar and top hotel trends to expect in the New
Top trends for restaurants and bars range from artisan salt selections
to Izakaya bar menus; chefs growing their own gardens, and cupcakes moving
from kids plates to adult menus. Top hotel trends include the rise of smallish
boho-chic hotels, to the introduction of interesting "get frisky" packages
for feline pets. Industry veteran Andrew Freeman said of the 2008 trends
to watch, "Today, the modern diner and traveler expect a more personalized
and fun approach to their experiences from the bar to the hotel suite."
Freeman continues, "Savvy guests are up on all of the trends and expect
to be wowed. They desire unique and one of a kind offerings." He continued
to say that now more than ever, guests make their choices based on great
word-of-mouth and social networking online buzz.
From the marketing standpoint, the biggest trend of the year is that
giving back is essential-and both restaurants and hotels are partnering
more with charitable organizations that align with their values, benefit
their communities and make good business sense.
Staying in the Groove: Hotel
Going In and Coming Out
Gay and lesbian travel (LBGT) continues to gain velocity and popularity.
With a $54 million market share, major cities and hotels around the world
are opening their doors wide to welcome this very discerning crowd.
Netting New Clients
Catch potential guests on the Internet. Consumers today continue to
rely less on printed and bound guides, turning instead to social media
websites, travel sites and blogs for planning, scheming and dreaming. Savvy
hotels are creating websites with a taste of things to come, and adding
systems to make reservations a breeze.
Stylish hotels are forgoing traditional lobbies and creating vibrant
lounge environments. Sleek couches, oversize chairs and lighting are replacing
the staid and stuffy reception area to create hip social spots for swanky
cocktails and music that attracts guests and locals alike.
Wired from Door to Door
The technology boom continues. Free wireless Internet, remote paperless
check-in and check-out, on-line reservations, Ipod docking stations, movies
on-demand and in-room Play Stations are now expected by today's modern
Heading for Greener Pastures
The green train has left the station and more hotel companies are jumping
on board. Here's the basic packing list: high-efficiency light bulbs, non-toxic
paints and carpeting, low-flow showerheads and toilets, non-toxic cleaning
materials, organic cotton towels and linens (laundered only on request,
of course), air filtering systems and hotel collateral printed on recycled
paper using soy-based inks.
Beyond the Bare Essentials
Forgot your Ipod? Covet that cozy robe? Now just about everything in
your hotel is available for purchase. Left your toothbrush, deodorant or
swim suit at home? Thoughtful hotels have amenities that cover just about
every guest request.
At Your Leisure
Business is booming, but not with the typical business traveler. Leisure
travel and multi-generational family adventure vacations are on the rise.
Grandmother and granddaughter travel packages keep the generations connected.
Take a Deep Breath and Say "Ohmmm"
From Yoga studios to one-on-one gyms and medi-spas, hotels are seriously
focusing on your well-being by offering personalized treatments packages
including diet coaching, outdoor excursions, and rejuvenating boosts with
custom massage menus.
Small boutique hotels are now popping up in bohemian neighborhoods
surrounded by art studios, ateliers, and galleries. They soak in the local
culture by supporting local artists with custom-designed rooms and unique
The Halls of Comfortable Learning
Hotels get a "PhD" in service when they offer tours of local markets,
in-depth peeks into local culture, cooking classes with the chef and other
cultural educational experiences.
Creature Comforts Get Frisky
Get your bow wow going and say hello to Rover and Spike. Today, most
hotels are already dog friendly, so get ready to welcome the next breed
of pets - Frisky the cat and Polly the parakeet.
May I Take Your Order Please:
Restaurant & Bar Trends
Artisan Salt: fleur de sel, sel gris, Hawaiian pink, Himalayan black;
even smoked salt has appeared in dishes from tuna tartar to salted caramel
The Aussie Invasion
OZ has arrived. Well beyond wine imports, menus are loading up with
Aussie olive oil, honey, fruit pastes, and seafood.
The Lounge Around
More full-scale dining room menus and innovative bar menus are being
offered in the lounge and bars. Now, guests can relax, order as much or
as little as they like, and be casual as friends come and go.
Small Plates Go Global
From Japanese Izakaya, Indian Chaat, Middle Eastern Mezze to Spanish
Tapas, the small plates craze keeps going and growing in every kind of
restaurant concept across the country.
Artisans in Residence
From house-made salumi like prosciutto, sausage, coppa, salami, mortadella
to house-cured olives. Chefs take more pride in making everything in-house.
You say salumi, I say salami.
Chefs with a green thumb are growing their produce, usually organic,
on their own farms, behind their restaurants, or on rooftop gardens. You
can't get more local than this.
The Cupcake Revolution
From delicious cupcakes with buttercream frosting to homemade twinkies
and old-fashioned butterscotch puddings, nostalgic desserts remain a favorite.
Now many are garnished with retro treats like Pop Rocks and Caramel Corn.
That Size Fits You Perfectly
Dishes now come in small, medium, and large portions to satisfy a wide
range of tastes and appetites. The entrée as we know it is not going
away, but size does matter.
Fine Dining Re-Defined
Diners still crave four-star cuisine and service, only now they want
these experiences in more relaxed settings.
I Can Get It For You Retail
Fine dining goes retail. Like that pasta or hand-crafted teapot? Today,
even the best places have To-go sections or catalogs.
Sweet Says Hello to Savory
Caramel with foie gras, sorbet in your soup, salt on desserts, and
truly tangy frozen yogurts - sweet and savory join forces with delicious
Obeying the mantra of SOL food (seasonal, organic and local) is almost
the norm. Now, restaurants are going completely sustainable with biodegradable
disposable tableware, eco-conscious cleaners and a suite of green business
Sexy Unisex Bathrooms
Please put the seat down when you're done. Unisex bathrooms are popping
up in hot restaurants, bars and lounges across the country. Will this be
the end of long lines for the ladies?
It's A Split Decision
A range of wine service options: by the glass, the bottle, the 2 oz.
taste, even the quartino. Quaffers have plenty of choices now. Still can't
decide? Split the difference and get the half bottle.
99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall
Gastro-pubs with dedicated beer lists, featuring special brews, house-made
drafts and hard-to-find ales are all the rage. Adding to the experience
are custom glassware selections and special pairing menus.
Reaching Beyond Riesling
Gruner Veltliner and Blaufrankisch. These wines from Germany and Austria
(and others from beyond) may be tough to pronounce, but they are easy to
drink and pair. Will we be Hungary for more next year?
The chef's new signature dish - bar snacks. Homemade pretzels, paprika
tossed nuts and hand-rolled sesame sticks take the place of stale popcorn
and keep guests reaching for more.
Shaken, Stirred, Muddled and Organic
Bar chef/mixologists get more creative with hand-crafted one-of-a-kind
organic cocktails utilizing fresh fruit, herbs, spices, vegetable purees,
house-made syrups, and innovative infusions. More and more bars now have
a selection of organic beverage options.
The trend list was developed by AF&Co., from a combination of close
industry observation, coast-to-coast travel, discussions with industry
experts, meetings with hotel and restaurant clients, press contacts, conferences
attended and media sources. During 2007, the AF&Co. consultants traveled
100,800 miles, ate 1,092 restaurant meals, produced 6 restaurant openings
and 4 hotel launches and finally, slept for a total of 210 nights in hotels.
About Andrew Freeman & Co. - In November 2005, Andrew Freeman
realized a long-time dream by opening Andrew Freeman & Co., a boutique
marketing and public relations agency specializing in hospitality and lifestyle
clients. Prior to opening AF&Co., Andrew worked for the San Francisco-based
Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants as the Vice President, Public Relations
and Strategic Partnerships, building on his previous role for the company
as Vice President, Restaurant Sales & Marketing. In his decade with
Kimpton, Andrew was responsible for developing and executing all public
and media relations activities - including the launch of new properties
- for the global brand, the group of 40 hotels and restaurants, as well
as for the corporate headquarters.