I spoke at the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association summit, and I was able to get an inside scoop for you on HOT restaurant trends:

Social media is hot in restaurants.  Many restaurants are using Facebook to  provide an online experience.

Restaurants are buying local.  And many restaurants are using the freshest produce which they are growing in their own gardens.   One of the hottest trend in restaurants this year, more chefs are getting involved with the eat local food movement and are growing their own tomatoes, herbs, and produce.  Independent restaurants are more equipped to have their own gardens because they have the flexibility to adjust their menus with what’s in season.  They don’t have the consistency factor that chain restaurants do.

Casual fine dining is hot and top chefs have infused food with more personality.  Comfort foods, foods that you would find in cookouts, home kitchens, and diners, are fitting into more menus.  From hot dogs to meatloaf and chicken and lobster pot pies, restaurants are providing home cooked meals like Mom used to make.

We all remember our favorite restaurant experiences.  Mine were a Peking duck dinner in Beijing and a Paris birthday dinner where they played happy birthday for me in 6 languages, while a cute little dog sat at the owner’s feet.  Restaurants want to create these memorable moments and they do it by following the hottest restaurant trends.