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Hospitality trends to watch in 2012

Garlic French Fries with Chives

Don’t be surprised if you see more potatoes, grilled cheese and Thai cuisine on your plate in 2012. Those are among the predictions in Andrew Freeman and Company’s fifth annual restaurant and hospitality trends report.

The list can help meeting planners stay up to date on popular menu items and hotel trends as they prepare for their next event. Here are the top five trends for food and hotels.

Food and Restaurant Trends

1.) Potatoes
Some restaurants offer french fry menus that allow guests to choose their fries’ crispiness, sauce and other custom options.

2.) Creative Ice Cream Flavors
Instead of the usual ice cream flavors, many chefs offer unfamiliar flavors, such as Autumn Pear and Sourdough.

3.) Grilled cheese
The childhood favorite is making a comeback in restaurants, from traditional to high-end signature grilled-cheese sandwiches.

4.) Noodles
Hand-pulled noodles can make dinner a show.

5.) Thai Food

Modern Thai cuisine, which showcases the country’s more exotic flavors, is often appreciated, as more Thai restaurants pop up across the country.

Hotel and Spa Trends

1.) Informal lobbies
Hotels are eliminating the formal front desk for personal greetings and curbside check-ins.

2.) Personalized service
Hotels are expanding custom service options so guests receive personalized attention with issues such as dietary requirements, culturally appropriate in-room amenities and personal advice for offbeat dining or other leisure-time activities.

3.) More DIY opportunities
To help guests create lasting memories, hotels offer do-it-yourself experiences, such as cooking classes, gardening opportunities and massage instruction.

4.) Smartphone apps
Hotels are taking advantage of the proliferation of smartphones by offering downloadable custom apps to order room service, drinks, movies or a local map.

5.) Electric car stations
More hotels and resorts are offering electric-car charging stations for guests

Learn more trends in the hospitality and restaurant service by visiting