Predictions and musings: what does 2013 hold in store for diners – Part 2

Welcome back to part two of Douglas Blyde‘s brilliant trend report, rounding up the best in the business’s anticipations for the restaurant, bar and dining scene in 2013.

Pip McCormac, Lifestyle Director, Red Magazine (www.redmagazine.co.uk):

‘I’m hoping for the return of the tablecloth. People still want a bit of elbows-on-tables informality but restaurants are starting to look like they actually care again.’

Richard Siddle, Editor, Harper’s Wine & Spirit (www.harpers.co.uk):


‘I see 2013 as about staying close to home. Not only where people choose to dine out, but what they actually eat and drink to go with it. Hopefully this will see a revival of the local neighbourhood restaurant – and not just resorting to the big pizza chain around the corner. But great opportunities for restaurants of all tastes and sizes to do well providing they really understand what their local customers want. So canny lunchtime and early evening deals, incentives to come as a group and crack the local dinner party set with special menus for four, six and eight.’

 Jon Massey, The Wharf newspaper (www.wharf.co.uk):

‘The year ahead is set to be one of self denial and fast living. January’s customary period of reinvention is likely to inspire the squeezed middle to austerity in food. I expect the chains in Canary Wharf and the City to pick up on this. Both restaurants and takeaways, driven by the catalyst of Dr. Michael Mosley’s 5-2 fasting diet, will develop smartly-priced dishes designed specifically to tempt those hoping to shed the pounds, live longer and save cash. It’s a health kick likely to gain more than the usual degree of traction. Curiously it’s also good news for purveyors of indulgences as participants will be keen to treat themselves on non-fasting days. Consequently the Wharf’s popular lunch market will flourish, especially for lighter bites. We probably haven’t seen the last of the woeful gourmet hotdog stand either as its’ low fat (and low flavour) offerings probably weigh-in at fewer than 500 calories.’

Richard Vines, Chief Food Critic, Bloomberg (www.bloomberg.net):

‘The “bistronomy” trend of good food in unfussy surroundings is good for another year or two and I wouldn’t want to open a fine-dining restaurant. However, I am expecting at least one top-end restaurant from a US restaurateur after Keith McNally’s Balthazar and Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack. London is just too tempting right now.’

 Russell Norman, Restaurateur, Polpo Group (www.polpo.co.uk):

‘This is nothing new, but I predict we will see more restaurants doing one thing only, and doing it well. It makes business sense, allowing an operator to concentrate on quality and consistency.  Personally, I love being told what to eat; choice is so 2012…’

Gordon Cartwright, Visionary Dining (www.visionarydining1.com):

‘The bigger picture will become a more accessible mosaic with smaller experiences such as naughty afternoon teas becoming bite-sized treats of instant satisfaction. Generally, the market shifts from the buzz of big named chefs to an experience based not just on what they taste but what they feel emotionally about the entire experience.’

David and Nicole Williams, Critical Couple (www.thecriticalcouple.com):

‘Rising food costs continue, not least because 2012 was the wettest year in the past century impacting crop yields. Accordingly, restaurants need to offer outstanding quality (like The Ledbury) or outstanding value (like Brasserie Zedel) if they want to thrive. Those caught in the middle – average food at average prices – struggle. Throw into the mix the new capacity that came on stream in 2012 – Zedel, MASH, Hawksmoor Air Street are all mega restaurants, while Burger & Lobster’s expansion is relentless. Expect lots of deals from restaurants who take the margin hit in exchange for “bums on seats”.’

Maureen Mills, Network London PR (twitter/NetworkLondonPR):

‘One year on, I still believe in breakfast. Also, I am declaring it the year of the vegetable. Although I am in no way a vegetarian, my respect for vegetables is increasing. Bruno Loubet’s next restaurant will concentrate on putting vegetables as the prime ingredient (while not ignoring protein).’

Magnus Hultberg, Technologist (www.happyherring.com):

‘The macro trends I mentioned last year (local, sustainable) become more valid. There is also, I hope, an increasing consumer awareness of healthy choices… I am still waiting for a place that sells decent paleo-inspired salads and lunch snacks; is this the year it will finally happen? Also, competition in the trade being cut-throat, people have ever higher expectations. An effect is, customers increasingly do their research (you better have an up to date menu online) and won’t settle for anything less than heaps of flavour and great service, as verified by others having been there before and left a review.’

 Ben Spalding, Chef (https://twitter.com/Benspalding1):

‘The other day I read about self ordering places which is really depressing, I hope it doesn’t catch on: this is hospitality, not 3013! Bagel burgers will become popular. More and more lazy chefs unwilling to make the sacrifice to put the hours and stints in to learn from the elite, will instead go through the TV route which gives instant results the majority of the time. If this continues to be a trend for say the next 10-20 years, the standard and consistency of eating out at good restaurants will decline. No chef/owner will be able to staff a full kitchen team!’

Tune in later this week for the final part in our serialisation of Douglas‘s riveting report.

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