Dining and Restaurants / Eating / Food and Cooking

U.S. 2010 DINING TRENDS: What is good service?

The Restaurants & Institutions’ 2010 New American Diner Study offers a wealth of information and insight into how people see eateries and servers. The study asked consumers to name their top three components of good service at a restaurant; among the choices provided, “a friendly disposition” (56%), “stopping by regularly to check if I need anything else” (51%) and “clean/safe serving habits” (44%) came out on top. Slow service was, by far, diners’ top service-related restaurant complaint. Diners’ comments about what turns them off at restaurants included:

“asking if everything is OK every 5 minutes”
“They can’t even pronounce the food item.”
“when they ask a single person, ˜Is it just you?'”
“when a server sits down with you”
“being called ‘honey'”
“calling us ‘you guys'”

The survey provided proof that “green” education has a long way to go. Asked to provide their own definition of “sustainable,” many respondents appropriately described the term as relating to an item produced or collected in a such a way that its source can be replenished. But hundreds of others wrote in responses indicating they were confused by–or cynical about–the term.

What does the term “sustainable” mean to you?

  “don’t know” or “have no idea” or “not sure” — (16.4%) 
Other specific replies:
“a food that will keep you going for hours without getting hungry”
“a lot of food on your plate”
“enough to tide you over”
“fresh and locally grown”
“It’s trendy, meaningless language.”
“just a way to say it costs more”
“greeny crap”

Diners were also asked to select descriptive terms that would make them more likely to order an item. “Scratch-made” beat out all other responses (34%, versus 30% for low-fat and 19% for low-cal).  Write-in responses included: “mother’s recipe,” “grandma’s recipe,”  “a dish that reminds me of my mother,” and “baked on-site, Mom’s home cooking.”

JohnLehndorff.com

Eat In Eat Out: Food trend forecast 2010: http://americanforecaster.com/

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