Andrew Freeman is an industry expert who uses his personal insights and vast connections to predict the future in his annual hospitality trends report.
Now president of San Francisco-based AF&Co., Freeman has worked at New York venues such as Windows on the World and Russian Tea Room before serving as vice president of public relations and strategic partnerships for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants. Freeman and his team at AF&Co. rely on industry observations, international travel, discussions with industry leaders, meetings with hotel and restaurant clients, industry conferences, media interactions and thousands of hours of research in hotels and restaurants around the country to compile their 2017 hospitality trends.
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“The new year promises to be very volatile with many industry reports indicating that there may be slowdowns in travel and dining out in certain categories, “Freeman says. “Add in the results of our most recent presidential election, the rising costs of running restaurants, the staffing shortages and the tipping debate, and we have quite a year ahead of us.
“There are also indicators that the year could be very exciting, including new hotel and restaurant openings, emerging cuisines and beverages, more technology solutions to simplify business and raise the bar for marketing, and so much more,” Freeman says. “What does this all mean? That restaurants and hotels need to be prepared, be nimble and be on their game. This year is not a test—it’s reality and if you are ready, you can emerge as true winners.”
2017 Hospitality Trends Predictions
Trend of the Year: Modern Takes on Ethnic Cuisine
Modern takes on lesser-known cuisines are taking the country by storm. Modern Indian, Modern Korean, Modern African, Modern Middle Eastern…it’s a modern-day miracle!
Dish of the Year: The Breakfast Sandwich
Restaurants are elevating the humble breakfast sandwich to new levels. Think breakfast sandwiches on dinner menus, and Michelin-starred restaurants doling out egg sandwiches paired with exceptional latte art in the morning.
Cuisine of The Year: We’re Flipping for Filipino
Influenced by a long history of culinary tradition and the flavors of India, Japan, Malay, China and Spain, Filipino cuisine is bold, fresh, and borderline addictive.
Food City Of The Year: To Live & Dine In L.A.
The Los Angeles restaurant scene has been booming (three James Beard awards this year!), but wait till you see what’s in store for the City of Angels.
Up & Coming Food City of The Year: Keen on Kansas City
It’s no surprise that the tight-knit community is pushing the fold and staying true to tradition in an unparalleled fashion. In KC, an old-school approach is embraced (think butcher shops, pickling, fermenting and Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que) alongside modern techniques.
Ingredients of The Year: High Expectations for Cannabis
California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada join the ranks of Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska in legalizing recreational cannabis. Marijuana edibles, cannabis cooking, infused cocktails, cannabis wine, oh my!
Hospitality trends consultants: Industry experts who provided insights on emerging trends in their respective fields, included David Miller (president and COO for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants); Carolyn Wente (CEO and fourth-generation winegrower, Wente Vineyards); Scott Howard (chef at Citizen); Brian Hinshaw (SVP of food and beverage, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants); Gabriel Lowe (bar manager at Black Cat); John Griffiths (chef at Bluestem Brasserie); Luigi Di Ruocco (vice president of sales and director of marketing for Mr. Espresso); Tonya Pitts (sommelier at One Market); Mark Knauer (founder and president, for Knauer, Inc.); Emily Shoop (Emily Shoop Branding & Design, Co. ); Mitch Mehr (vice president for Pineapple Hospitality Company); Brett Magnan (vice president for Pineapple Hospitality Company); Marco Baumann (managing director for Pineapple Hospitality Company); and Melissa Muoio (style director for Curiology).