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Now in its seventh year, AF&Co’s annual trends report has become an industry standard in anticipating market demand and consumer feedback. Compiled from extensive research, the report is intended as a guide to help operators prepare for the coming year. New this year, the AF&Co.’s team of trendologists is introducing the Trends Index – a matrix featuring their top “food calls” for the upcoming year, from the next mutant morsel to predicting the new bacon. “This year’s trends are about the experiential,” says Freeman. “As technology continues to infuse every aspect of our lives, clientele are looking for deeper personal connections as the barriers between what is private and public become increasingly blurred.” The 2014 trends report examines how traditional lines are being blurred to create connectivity, authenticity of experience and smooth integration across various platforms.

Blurred Lines was developed by the AF&Co. team, Agency President Andrew Freeman, and staff trendologists Cia Glover and Waverley Aufmuth, from a combination of close industry observations, bi-coastal and international travel, discussion with industry leaders, meetings with hotel and restaurant clients, industry conferences, media interactions and thousands of hours spent researching in hotels and restaurants around the country. This year, the team polled a select panel of industry experts to gain insight into the top trends emerging in their respective fields, including Executive Vice President of the James Beard Foundation Mitchell Davis and James Beard Award-winning chef and author Joanne Weir.



The Dishes, Drinks and Digs That Will Be Breaking Down Barriers in 2014

#HungerGames: Trends in Food

86 the Chicken

Gone are the days when there was always a chicken dish on the menu for picky eaters. Restaurants are playing to more adventurous eaters and diners’ palates have risen to the challenge.

Ex: At Empire State South you’ll find catfish, pork belly and even goat on the menu but not a chicken dish in sight (Atlanta, GA).

Cobb Karma

Newfangled Cobbs are knocking Caesar off its pedestal as the king of salads.

Ex: The just-opened Park Bistro & Bar jazzes up their Chop-Chop Cobb Salad with crispy avocado (Lafayette, CA); The Mix-Up Bar at Phoenix’s The Royal Palms spices up the classic Cobb with jerk chicken and Scotch bonnet peppers (Phoenix, AZ).

Haute Homey

Chefs are going back to childhood and having fun with familiar favorites. Highbrow versions of classic comfort foods are popping up all over menus, from appetizers to dessert.

Ex: The entire menu at Minneapolis’ Haute Dish offers creative takes on comfort foods (Minneapolis, MN); Peanut Butter Panna Cotta with Berry Jam at 1760 plays with the classic peanut butter & jelly sandwich (San Francisco, CA); Bluestem Brasserie puts a modern spin on comfort with their pan-seared Black Truffle Pierogi with bacon-leek marmalade, slow poached egg and banyuls gastrique (San Francisco, CA).

Mutant Morsels

Chefs all over the country have gone mad scientist, creating hybrid versions of longtime crowd pleasers.

Ex: By now everyone has heard of the cronut (part donut, part croissant) and its creator, Dominique Ansel, is already onto his next hybrid creation – the Magic Soufflé (New York, NY); Keizo Shimamoto’s Ramen Burger replaces the bun with griddled ramen – variations are showing up across the nation, like those served at Nombe and OneUp (San Francisco, CA); Scala’s Bistro features a dessert pizza with nutella, marshmallows and macadamia nuts (San Francisco, CA).

We All Scream for Ice Cream Sandwiches

Move over cupcakes and donuts, there’s a new treat in town – the ice cream sandwich.

Ex: Hardwater features a milk chocolate and malt ice cream sandwich (San Francisco, CA); Ramen Shop adds Asian influences to their ice cream sandwiches with combinations like ginger and black sesame (Oakland, CA); Coolhaus Ice Cream Truck takes this trend mobile and has creative cookie flavors like potato chip and butterscotch (Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Austin).

When the Chips are Down

Up the ante on chips ‘n dip by subbing in alternatives to the traditional fried spud, tortilla chip or crostini.

Ex: Beef tendon crisps are the perfect vehicle for Chef Robin Song’s beef tartare at Hi Lo (San Francisco, CA); Yusho’s serves crisped up chicken skin topped with Japanese mustard, garlic and togarashi (Chicago, IL); Jicama and cucumbers dipped in lime, chile arbol and salt grace tables at Copita Tequileria y Comida instead of the usual chips and salsa (Sausalito, CA).

Let’s Get Oiled Up

For cooking and finishing, chefs are going beyond olive oil. The flavors of avocado, hazelnut and benne seed oils elevate dishes to new levels. Even mixologists are getting into the action with oil-enhanced cocktails.

Ex: Chef Brad Farmerie poaches proteins like rabbit or John Dory in avocado oil (New York, NY); Chefs like Sean Brock of McCrady’s are toasting and pressing benne seeds to make custom oils in-house (Charleston, SC); The Carnegie Martini at Rich Table riffs off the flavors of a pastrami sandwich and is finished with mustard oil (San Francisco, CA); The Good Food Awards introduced a new category for small-batch oils this year – whether from olives, hazelnuts, squash seeds or avocados.

The Experts Agree!

“New healthy oils are finding their way into cooking like rice bran, argan and coconut.”

–Joanne Weir, James Beard Award-Winning Chef and Author

The Oldest Form of Cooking in the World

Everything old is new again. Going beyond pickling, chefs are fermenting just about everything these days.

Ex: At Perbacco, Chef Staffan Terje takes a page from the ancient cookbook ‘Apicius’ by experimenting with the fermented fish sauce known as garum, using it to braise meats and give dishes a deeper flavor (San Francisco, CA); The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards’ Chef Matt Greco experiments with wines lees and has added them to the restaurant’s house-made bread (Livermore, CA).

The Experts Agree!

“Fermentation is a big trend, still growing.”

–Mitchell Davis, Executive Vice President, The James Beard Foundation

Ahh…Veg Out!

It’s easier than ever to get your veggies: these traditional sidekicks are finding their way into cocktails, taking the place of meat in traditional dishes and adding an edge to desserts.

Ex: A cleanse with a kick, Mercadito’s V-9 adds tequila to good-for-you ingredients like kale, cilantro, pineapple juice and ginger (Chicago, IL); Michelin-starred establishments Atelier Crenn (San Francisco, CA) and Eleven Madison Park (New York, NY) are transforming carrots to take on a meaty texture and flavor in preparations like jerky and tartare; Vegetables make an appearance in many of the desserts at Del Posto including an eggplant and chocolate combination (New York, NY).

Not Your Grandpappy’s BBQ

Chefs are taking classic barbecue techniques to new heights by showcasing regional nuance and bold flavors. Barbecue culture is moving beyond roadside shacks and backyard smokers.

Ex: Hi Lo elevates Northern California barbecue by infusing local, seasonal ingredients with the power of wood, smoke and fire (San Francisco, CA); Chef Dennis Lee will be creating ‘non-denominational’ barbecue for the new Magnolia Brewery (San Francisco, CA); Billed as ‘fancy barbecue’ Lamberts plays off barbecue traditions with a multitude of smoked and grilled proteins and a host of family-style sides, all with an upscale twist (Austin, TX).

Gettin’ Nutty With It

It doesn’t just come from a cow. Pastry chefs, baristas and bartenders are playing around with nut milks.

Ex: The pecan-bourbon bread pudding at Sazerac gets its nutty flavor from house-made pecan milk (Seattle, WA); Four Barrel Coffee ditched soy milk in favor of almond milk for its vegan cappuccinos (San Francisco, CA); True nut milk lovers can get fresh, homemade versions delivered to their door by CAN CAN Nut Milk (San Francisco, CA).

Everything Under the Sea

It’s our most precious resource and chefs are using it wisely and innovatively. From sea beans to fish cheeks, chefs are exploring the full bounty of the ocean and how to keep it a lasting resource.

Ex: House-made plankton conchiglie pasta is served at Craigie on Main (Cambridge, MA); Gitane offers a Monkfish liver pate garnished with heirloom tomatoes, garum ice and seaweeds (San Francisco, CA); Hopscotch serves octopus cooked under a brick with seaweed, mizuna and a drizzle of ponzu (Oakland, CA); Restaurants like Alioto’s (San Francisco, CA), Pescatore (San Francisco, CA) and Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar (Monterey, CA) are longtime supporters of sustainable seafood, as members of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, sometimes going so far as to indicate the origin and catching method of fish on their menus.

The Experts Agree!

“Picklers are venturing into marine vegetables to bring new texture and tastes.”

–Sarah Weiner, Director of the Good Food Awards, Seedling Projects

#CheckPlease: Trends in Restaurants

Kitchen Comes Tableside

Old-school service meets new school standards as restaurants are breaking down the barriers between the kitchen and the diner with an updated return to tableside preparations.

Ex: The Caesar Salad at New York City’s Carbone is prepared tableside (New York, NY); The Modern Star Canyon Margarita at Stampede 66 is finished with a tableside flourish of nitrogen (Dallas, TX); Bollito Misto is carved tableside at Poggio Trattoria courtesy of their custom outfitted carello (Sausalito, CA).

Niche Ethnic

Forget about your run of the mill Chinese or Mexican spots, chefs are highlighting the lesser-known culinary traditions of countries like Macau and specific regional cuisines like Northern Thai. Chefs are also exploring more exotic spices and flavors like Calabrian peppers, Gochugaru flakes and Guajillo and Achiote chiles.

Ex: The fusion roots of Macanese cuisine are on full display at Fat Rice (Chicago, IL); 1601 Bar & Kitchen gives San Franciscans their first taste of Sri Lankan dishes (San Francisco, CA); San Francisco’s newest contemporary Mexican restaurant, La Urbana, uses house-made Achiote salt to dust their Chicharrones de Arroz, and Chile Arbol to braise their Carne Asada (San Francisco, CA).

Split Personalities

Whether it’s a casual café by day that transforms into fine dining by night or a restaurant that shares its space with a retail shop, restaurant real estate is doing double duty.

Ex: The Pass and Provisions are two unique restaurants under one roof, one fine dining, the other casual, led by the same chef duo (Houston, TX); Lifestyle Café Maison Trois Garcons features seasonal dining surrounded by stunning art, furniture and more – and everything you dine on is for sale (London, England); Salumeria is part larder, part casual lunch spot and part private dining/event space, sharing its dining room and chef with the adjacent Central Kitchen (San Francisco, CA).

Who Doesn’t Love a Classic Comeback?

Iconic favorites will be making a comeback in 2014, with the reopening of old standards under new management. Fresh face lifts prove everything old is new again.

Ex: Later this year New York’s celebrated Tavern on the Green will reopen as a smaller, 250-table restaurant (New York, NY); North Beach’s legendary bar, Tosca Cafe, recently reopened under Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield with a brand new full-service kitchen but maintains many of the original touches like the jukebox, piano and red leather booths (San Francisco, CA); New York’s iconic Rainbow Room is slated to reopen in fall of 2014 (New York, NY).

It’s a Movie, It’s a Painting, No It’s Live Art!

Take artwork digital by using projection for still and moving pieces – it’s easy to keep things changing without breaking the bank.

Ex: Oak fittingly projects an image of an oak tree on their wall with a digital piece by local artist Robert Myers (Dallas, TX); Vintage flamenco videos are projected on the wall during dinner service at Canela (San Francisco, CA).

Beyond the Tipping Point

Are restaurants, servers and diners ready for an update to our tipping culture? This hot topic has the industry buzzing and we certainly haven’t heard the last of it – look for a move towards pooled tips and service charges.

Ex: New York’s Sushi Yasuda takes its cue from Japan, compensating staff with salaries and not accepting gratuities (New York, NY); Chez Panisse adds a service charge to every bill to cover benefits and higher wages for all staff (Berkeley, CA); At State Bird Provisions, tips are pooled and shared with front of the house and back of the house staff (San Francisco, CA).

The Experts Agree!

“I think the fire is lit and is starting to smolder. Maybe not next year, but soon we will see a shift to service charges and service included.”

–Staffan Terje, Chef/Owner, Perbacco

The Year of the Brasserie

Diners are clamoring for the casual sophistication of the brasserie. Whether you crave steak frites or just a see-and-be-seen atmosphere, this style of restaurant appeals to the Francophile in all of us and will continue to grow in the coming year.

Ex: Andrew Carmellini’s boisterous and warm Lafayette is on every foodie’s must-try list and is open morning ‘til night (New York, NY); London’s Brasserie Zédel is a love letter to the classic Parisian brasserie (London, England); Anna Weinberg and Jennifer Puccio’s new hotspot The Cavalier puts a distinctly British spin on the brasserie (San Francisco, CA); Chicago’s Kabocha Japanese Brasserie proves that brasseries are no longer the sole realm of France (Chicago, IL).

Gilded Chopsticks

With upscale dining rooms and innovative, handcrafted menus to match, Asian food isn’t just for takeout anymore.

Ex: San Francisco Chef Brandon Jew will breathe new life into Chinatown with a Chinese concept that emphasizes seasonal ingredients and hand-made everything including tofu, soy sauce and bean paste (San Francisco, CA); Michael Mina is bringing his elegant Japanese concept Pabu to the west coast (Baltimore, MD); High-end Chinese restaurants like Hakkasan, M.Y. China and Leader House are meeting the demand by expanding into multiple markets around the world.

The Experts Agree:

“Interest in Japanese cuisine is increasing by leaps and bounds. Michael Mina is bringing Pabu, a 10,000 sq.ft. Izakaya concept to downtown San Francisco.”

—Carol Gilbert, President, CGI (Retail Leasing and Development Specialists)

Raise the Bar, Lower the Lounge

When real estate is at a premium, make the most of your space by going vertical. Restaurants are getting a height advantage by using basement and second story bars to create more seating, a bigger dining room and a fatter bottom line.

Ex: Peel’s (New York, NY) and the soon-to-open Gaspar Brasserie (San Francisco, CA) send guests upstairs for a seat at the bar; Borough built out their lower level as a cozy speakeasy (Minneapolis, MN).

Don’t Get Drunk On An Empty Stomach

Chefs are getting into the bar business in a big way. We’re seeing a plethora of chef-driven bar concepts that offer thoughtful bites to pair with complex cocktails and wine programs. Similarly, traditional bars and wineries are adding composed dishes to their repertoire to enhance the tasting experience and encourage patrons to linger.

Ex: Whey Bar is located inside the city’s popular Ox restaurant (Portland, OR); Seattle’s new Barnacle bar comes from the chefs behind The Walrus and The Carpenter (Seattle, WA); The Banshee Wines Tasting Room offers a full menu of savory items to complement its pours (Healdsburg, CA).

Perk Up, Eat Up

As small batch roasters go mainstream and the public’s interest in esoteric coffees brews, the food at your local coffee shop gets fancier too.

Ex: New York City’s Hi-Collar pairs your pour over with a pork katsu sandwich (New York City, NY).

Chef Coat Goes Lab Coat

Restaurants are getting serious about the science behind cooking. The new flavors, techniques and textures coming out of culinary laboratories are the future of food.

Ex: At the Momofuku Culinary Lab they collaborate with scientists from Harvard and UCLA (New York, NY); World-renowned chef José Andrés operates a culinary think tank in his restaurant group’s offices, ThinkFood Group (Washington, D.C.); Chicago’s Grant Achatz incubates new dishes for his world-famous Alinea in a custom outfitted culinary laboratory (Chicago, IL).

#RyeSoSerious: Trends in Beverage

Ice Ice Baby

Ice isn’t just for chilling – bars and restaurants are infusing their cubes with herbs and other ingredients to enhance the flavors or their cocktails.

Ex: Baltimore’s Pabu serves a riff on the Mint Julep finished with a mint-flavored ice cube (Baltimore, MD); Laurelhurst Market smokes its own ice for the signature Smoke Signals cocktail (Portland, OR).

Worth Their Weight

No need to commit to just one varietal or region – pay by the ounce and sample as many wines as you can handle.

Ex: Taste just an ounce of highly prized and pricey offerings from famed producers such as Pétrus and Château d’Yquem at Alain Ducasse’s Benoit (New York, NY); Claudine makes the most of trendy wines on tap by charging just $1 per ounce during happy hour (San Francisco, CA).

Artisan, Not Just for Ales

The artisanal movement hits spirits – highlighting local, small-batch spirit makers is this year’s farmer call-out.

Ex: A new spin on an old favorite, Sens’ Corpse Reviver 2.0 features local distiller St. George’s Terroir Gin (San Francisco, CA); At Frolik, the Seattle Sazerac highlights locally distilled Oola Waitsburg Bourbon with gomme syrup and yellow chartreuse (Seattle, WA).

Tippler Nibblers

Bite into your booze with cocktails that take a solid – and fun – form.

Ex: Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant’s Rogue Chocolate Stout Real Beer Float with Graham Cracker Squares is proof that soda fountain cocktails aren’t going anywhere (Mountain View, CA); Greg Lindgren of Rye on the Road and Reza Esmaili of Ananas and Derby served up potent snow cones at the SF Chefs Food and Wine Festival (San Francisco, CA).


No longer the sole realm of Napa, more and more states are contributing to the growing American wine movement. Restaurants that have long embraced a locavore ethos are revising their wine lists to match.

Ex: Brooklyn’s Seersucker has an all-American wine list, with a majority of bottles from New York’s North Fork and Finger Lakes regions (New York, NY).

Flights of Fancy

Offer up flights of unusual and small batch spirits, maybe even pairing them with food, and let a night at the bar become educational.

Ex: Bartenders at Manhattan’s Pouring Ribbons will walk you through customized flights of their extensive chartreuse offerings (New York, NY); Bourbon flights at Picán let diners explore the most comprehensive bourbon collection west of the Mississippi (Oakland, CA).

¡Mas Vino, Por Favor!

¡Ay ay ay! Wines from the Iberian Peninsula are surpassing classic French varietals on restaurant menus across the country, spicing up wine lists with Spanish and Portuguese flair.

Ex: Carmello’s showcases over 100 Portuguese wines from such regions as Alentejo, Douro, Doa, Estremadura, and Vinho Verde (Manassas, VA); The wine list at D.C.’s Estadio explores vintages from the Priorat, Castilla y León, and Rioja regions of Spain (Washington, D.C.).

The Experts Agree!

“We're having a love affair with Spain in the U.S. Spanish wines are en fuego value, quality and the sensual exotic flair of Spain is contagious.”

– Kimberly Charles, Founder, Charles Communications Associates

Tea Time

Tea is topping off cocktails and making a big splash whether served hot or cold.

Ex: Charleston’s soon-to-open brewery Edmund’s Oast is brewing beers they call “Lords Proprietors” made with tea from Charleston Tea Plantation (Charleston, SC); The Fifth Floor’s bar menu features an Evening Tea cocktail with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Hojicha Green Tea, King’s Ginger Liqueur and Degroff’s Pimento Bitters (San Francisco, CA).

The Experts Agree!

“Cascara Iced Tea anyone? It’s an herbal tea made using the dried fruit of the coffee plant—refreshing and sweet!”

--Luigi Di Ruocco, Vice President, Mr. Espresso

#HotelMotelHolidayInn: Trends in Hotels & Travel

Local Craze-y

Taking a page from restaurants, hotels are partnering with local artisans, purveyors and companies to give their properties a unique sense of place.

Ex: Hotel Vermont offers guests locally produced aromatherapy body and skin care products from Lunaroma (Burlington, VT); Berkeley’s Hotel Shattuck Plaza offers the “Touchdown Bears, Bring Down Fares” package, which gives guests the opportunity to decrease their room rate by the number of points scored by the Bears during Cal home games. The hotel’s FIVE Restaurant & Bar offers game-day drink specials that feature home team and visiting team cocktails (Berkeley, CA).

A “Have It Your Way” Stay

Custom pillow menus were just the beginning. From “raid the pantry” privileges to choose-your-own bath amenities menus, hotels are realizing that variety is the spice of life.

Ex: Woodmark Hotel has abandoned the traditional mini bar in exchange for access to a guest pantry where guests can snag complimentary late night snacks and drinks (Kirkland, WA); Fairmont Kea Lani’s “Fill Your Fridge” service lets guests work with the concierge before arrival to select items for their bars (Maui, HI).

Delight in Discovery

Life’s a journey, not a destination. Integrate experiential luxury and make the guest’s stay about more than just high thread count. Appeal to the crowds, young and old, who care more about where they’ve been and what they’ve done than what they own.

Ex: Rosewood Hotel Group’s Rosewood Curators program taps well-known locals and celebrities to share the places and rituals that inspire them while on vacation; More than just a private jet company, Intrav specializes in curated and custom-designed journeys that take travelers around the world on a customized private Boeing 757.


Travelers are expanding their horizons when it comes to getting around while on vacation, from bikes to cars it’s all about sharing the ride.

Ex: Relay Rides lets you rent another person’s car and vice versa, even at the airport; From San Francisco to Paris, cities are offering bikes for locals and travelers on the go.

Heavy Petting

Offer more than just a standard dog bed and bowl to travelers with pets. Owners are ready and willing to pay a premium to indulge their small sidekicks.

Ex: For their guests with pets, Portland’s Hotel Monaco arranges walks, grooming and even sessions with a pet psychic (Portland, OR); the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel welcomes pets with their Paw-fect Pet program (Washington, D.C.).

Relax, You Can Eat It Too

Pamper guests with treatments made with edible ingredients. They’re all natural and good for more than just the environment.

Ex: The Almond Joy experience spa package at the Oxford treats guests to a coconut sugar scrub, chocolate body mask and an almond oil massage (Denver, CO); The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa harnesses the natural antioxidant properties of Hawaiian Coffee Fruit with their line of anti-aging treatments (Berkeley, CA); Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa’s Vista Blue Spa incorporates locally-grown strawberries into its treatments, which are packed with vitamin-C, alpha-hydroxy and other ingredients that do wonders for the skin and hair (Monterey, CA).

Wired & Pumped Up

With technology making its way into hotel gyms, guests can dial up their very own personal trainer using apps and hi-def screens for a personalized and effective workout.

Ex: At the Parc 55, treadmills come equipped with interactive and immersive “outdoor” adventures complete with scenery and resistance that changes with the terrain (San Francisco, CA); Mobile apps like Shape Travelista and Six Pack App Pro let you get your heart rate up without leaving your room.

#TakinItToTheStreets: General Marketing Trends

Eat Your Adventure

Restaurants are picking slower nights to delve into a theme or concept. Unique menus allow guests to travel without leaving their hometown and leave with a deeper understanding of a specific region, cooking style or ingredient.

Ex: Travel the Spice Route at E&O Asian Kitchen with monthly menus designed around the ancient spice route (San Francisco, CA); Month-long regional dinner menus at barbacco eno trattoria delve deeply into the cuisine and prized dishes of key Italian regions (San Francisco, CA).

Everyone’s a Critic

As traditional media cuts more and more of their food coverage, the era of the anonymous food critic may be coming to an end. This is paving the way for a plethora of bloggers and freelancers with no shortage of opinions and huge rosters of followers. Bottom line? You never know who’s dining in your restaurant and how their experience will shape the future of your business.

Ex: Even Eater, a site known for telling it like it is, is eliminating their anonymous comment privileges - you’ve got to announce yourself if you want your opinions heard; The Ulterior Epicure writes about restaurants from around the world on his widely-read blog which includes his over 6,000 twitter followers (Kansas City, MO).

Yelp? Help!

Restaurateurs are becoming increasingly concerned by the influence of yelp reviews and are no longer sitting silently by. We predict the power of yelp may be waning, but in the meantime restaurants are going so far as to create dedicated roles to publicly respond to reviews.

Ex: M.Y. China created a Director of Enjoyment position, whose function is to manage Yelp responses and create an engaged and active voice on Yelp (San Francisco, CA).


Savvy young chefs are sharing when, where and what they are eating, cooking and doing on Instagram. Anticipation builds for fans and diners who can’t wait to try what they’ve been seeing.

Ex: A few mouthwatering folks to follow: @matthewjennings (of Farmstead, Providence, RI); @tim_hollingsworth (formerly of The French Laundry, Yountville, CA); @brettmichaelcooper (of Outerlands, San Francisco, CA).


Too noisy, too dark, too hard to find? Tech tools can help the baby boomers enjoy their dining experience. Restaurants can get in on the millennial action too by staying up on the latest in social media.

Ex: The Magnifying Glass app lets diners see your menu better; Capture tech-savvy millennial with #cleverhashtags, Instagram contests, and Facebook secret passwords.

Still Poppin’ Big Time

Pop-up restaurants aren’t just the purview of chefs. Brands, and even countries, are popping up for limited runs and causing a big stir.

Ex: New Zealand’s Waiheke Island Yacht Club in San Francisco took advantage of their America’s Cup run to introduce new ingredients from their country (San Francisco, CA); The Conservatory at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone turns culinary curriculum into a “crop-up” restaurant run by legendary chef Larry Forgione (St. Helena, CA); Celebrity Cruises became the first cruise line to pop-up, taking over San Francisco’s Stable Cafe for two days of their award-winning “from scratch” menus (San Francisco, CA).

Eat Now / Text Later

Restaurants are combatting the lure of the small screen by getting serious with their cell phone policies. Put away your phone and focus on the food, the atmosphere and the company.

Ex: Introduce the Phone Stack Game – phones go in the center of the table, first to grab their device picks up the check; With the strictest cell phone policy in L.A., Bucato keeps the phone use to a minimum with designated cell phone areas outside the restaurant (Los Angeles, CA); D.C. eatery Rogue24 makes diners sign a no cell phone use contract when dining at the restaurant (Washington, D.C.).

Ride, Dine & Sign

Restaurants, particularly in difficult-to-park-in neighborhoods, are partnering with transportation companies, from local taxis to luxury ridesharing company Uber, to encourage diners to ditch their rides for a discount.

Ex: JM Curley’s in Boston’s Downtown Crossing shows their support of Uber by providing diners with discounts on meals with proof of travel (Boston, MA); Soon-to-open Stone’s Throw in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood is offering Uber credit proportional to the cost of the dinner tab (San Francisco, CA); Water Taxi Miami partners with waterfront restaurants to offer a 10% discount or free appetizer to patrons who choose to ride by water (Miami, FL).

About Andrew Freeman & Co.

Andrew Freeman & Co. is a high-energy hospitality agency with a unique blend of expertise in marketing, publicity and creative services. The AF&Co team will do whatever it takes to build awareness for clients and ultimately increase sales. AF&Co offers tailored, flexible programs that include: creative/concept development, branding, recruiting, graphic design, public relations, sales/marketing, training, event management, and more depending on the clients’ needs. The AF&Co team is creative, direct and fun, and focuses on the areas that they are passionate about: restaurants and beverages, travel and hotels, and lifestyle personalities and products. For more information, visit or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

An industry veteran, prior to opening AF&Co. 8 years ago, Andrew worked at legendary New York venues including Windows on the World, the Russian Tea Room and the Rainbow Room. Eventually Andrew left New York to become the Vice President of Public Relations and Strategic Partnerships for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, based in San Francisco. He spent ten years with Kimpton, launching the global brand and over 40 hotels and restaurants. Andrew is currently the head of a dynamic hospitality agency offering full service marketing, public relations and consulting for hotels and restaurants. In the 8 years since opening, the agency has concepted, launched and promoted over 200 hotels and restaurants. AF&Co. is also responsible for the co-production of SF Chefs, San Francisco’s largest food and wine festival, now going into its sixth year. / 415.781.5700

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