Now in its seventh year, AF&Co’s annual trends report has become an industry standard in
anticipating market demand and consumer feedback. Compiled from extensive research, the
report is intended as a guide to help operators prepare for the coming year. New this year, the
AF&Co.’s team of trendologists is introducing the Trends Index – a matrix featuring their top “food
calls” for the upcoming year, from the next mutant morsel to predicting the new bacon. “This
year’s trends are about the experiential,” says Freeman. “As technology continues to infuse
every aspect of our lives, clientele are looking for deeper personal connections as the barriers
between what is private and public become increasingly blurred.” The 2014 trends report
examines how traditional lines are being blurred to create connectivity, authenticity of
experience and smooth integration across various platforms.
Blurred Lines was developed by the AF&Co. team, Agency President Andrew Freeman, and staff
trendologists Cia Glover and Waverley Aufmuth, from a combination of close industry
observations, bi-coastal and international travel, discussion with industry leaders, meetings with
hotel and restaurant clients, industry conferences, media interactions and thousands of hours
spent researching in hotels and restaurants around the country. This year, the team polled a
select panel of industry experts to gain insight into the top trends emerging in their respective
fields, including Executive Vice President of the James Beard Foundation Mitchell Davis and
James Beard Award-winning chef and author Joanne Weir.
TOP TRENDS & PREDICTIONS FOR 2014 ACCORDING TO
ANDREW FREEMAN & Co.
The Dishes, Drinks and Digs That Will Be Breaking Down Barriers in 2014
2014 Food Trends Index
Ice Cream Sandwiches
Cronut & Ramenburger
Weeds (Sorrel & Purslane)
Edible Trees & Firs
#HungerGames: Trends in Food
86 the Chicken
Gone are the days when there was always a chicken dish on the menu for picky eaters.
Restaurants are playing to more adventurous eaters and diners’ palates have risen to the
Ex: At Empire State South you’ll find catfish, pork belly and even goat on the menu but not a
chicken dish in sight (Atlanta, GA).
Newfangled Cobbs are knocking Caesar off its pedestal as the king of salads.
Ex: The just-opened Park Bistro & Bar jazzes up their Chop-Chop Cobb Salad with crispy avocado
(Lafayette, CA); The Mix-Up Bar at Phoenix’s The Royal Palms spices up the classic Cobb with jerk
chicken and Scotch bonnet peppers (Phoenix, AZ).
Chefs are going back to childhood and having fun with familiar favorites. Highbrow versions of
classic comfort foods are popping up all over menus, from appetizers to dessert.
Ex: The entire menu at Minneapolis’ Haute Dish offers creative takes on
comfort foods (Minneapolis, MN); Peanut Butter Panna Cotta with
Berry Jam at 1760 plays with the classic peanut butter & jelly sandwich
(San Francisco, CA); Bluestem Brasserie puts a modern spin on comfort
with their pan-seared Black Truffle Pierogi with bacon-leek marmalade,
slow poached egg and banyuls gastrique (San Francisco, CA).
Chefs all over the country have gone mad scientist, creating hybrid versions of longtime crowd
Ex: By now everyone has heard of the cronut (part donut, part croissant) and its creator,
Dominique Ansel, is already onto his next hybrid creation – the Magic Soufflé (New York, NY);
Keizo Shimamoto’s Ramen Burger replaces the bun with griddled ramen – variations are showing
up across the nation, like those served at Nombe and OneUp (San Francisco, CA); Scala’s Bistro
features a dessert pizza with nutella, marshmallows and macadamia nuts (San Francisco, CA).
We All Scream for Ice Cream Sandwiches
Move over cupcakes and donuts, there’s a new treat in town – the ice cream sandwich.
Ex: Hardwater features a milk chocolate and malt ice cream sandwich (San Francisco, CA);
Ramen Shop adds Asian influences to their ice cream sandwiches with combinations like ginger
and black sesame (Oakland, CA); Coolhaus Ice Cream Truck takes this trend mobile and has
creative cookie flavors like potato chip and butterscotch (Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Austin).
When the Chips are Down
Up the ante on chips ‘n dip by subbing in alternatives to the traditional fried spud, tortilla chip or
Ex: Beef tendon crisps are the perfect vehicle for Chef Robin
Song’s beef tartare at Hi Lo (San Francisco, CA); Yusho’s serves
crisped up chicken skin topped with Japanese mustard, garlic
and togarashi (Chicago, IL); Jicama and cucumbers dipped in
lime, chile arbol and salt grace tables at Copita Tequileria y
Comida instead of the usual chips and salsa (Sausalito, CA).
Let’s Get Oiled Up
For cooking and finishing, chefs are going beyond olive oil. The flavors of avocado, hazelnut
and benne seed oils elevate dishes to new levels. Even mixologists are getting into the action
with oil-enhanced cocktails.
Ex: Chef Brad Farmerie poaches proteins like rabbit or John Dory in avocado oil (New York, NY);
Chefs like Sean Brock of McCrady’s are toasting and pressing benne seeds to make custom oils
in-house (Charleston, SC); The Carnegie Martini at Rich Table riffs off the flavors of a pastrami
sandwich and is finished with mustard oil (San Francisco, CA); The Good Food Awards
introduced a new category for small-batch oils this year – whether from olives, hazelnuts, squash
seeds or avocados.
The Experts Agree!
“New healthy oils are finding their way into cooking like rice bran, argan and
–Joanne Weir, James Beard Award-Winning Chef and Author
The Oldest Form of Cooking in the World
Everything old is new again. Going beyond pickling, chefs are fermenting just about everything
Ex: At Perbacco, Chef Staffan Terje takes a page from the ancient
cookbook ‘Apicius’ by experimenting with the fermented fish sauce
known as garum, using it to braise meats and give dishes a deeper
flavor (San Francisco, CA); The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards’ Chef
Matt Greco experiments with wines lees and has added them to the
restaurant’s house-made bread (Livermore, CA).
The Experts Agree!
“Fermentation is a big trend, still growing.”
–Mitchell Davis, Executive Vice President, The James Beard Foundation
It’s easier than ever to get your veggies: these traditional sidekicks are finding their way into
cocktails, taking the place of meat in traditional dishes and adding an edge to desserts.
Ex: A cleanse with a kick, Mercadito’s V-9 adds tequila to good-for-you ingredients like kale,
cilantro, pineapple juice and ginger (Chicago, IL); Michelin-starred establishments Atelier Crenn
(San Francisco, CA) and Eleven Madison Park (New York, NY) are transforming carrots to take on
a meaty texture and flavor in preparations like jerky and tartare; Vegetables make an
appearance in many of the desserts at Del Posto including an eggplant and chocolate
combination (New York, NY).
Not Your Grandpappy’s BBQ
Chefs are taking classic barbecue techniques to new heights by showcasing regional nuance
and bold flavors. Barbecue culture is moving beyond roadside shacks and backyard smokers.
Ex: Hi Lo elevates Northern California barbecue by infusing local, seasonal
ingredients with the power of wood, smoke and fire (San Francisco, CA);
Chef Dennis Lee will be creating ‘non-denominational’ barbecue for the
new Magnolia Brewery (San Francisco, CA); Billed as ‘fancy barbecue’
Lamberts plays off barbecue traditions with a multitude of smoked and
grilled proteins and a host of family-style sides, all with an upscale twist
Gettin’ Nutty With It
It doesn’t just come from a cow. Pastry chefs, baristas and bartenders are playing around with
Ex: The pecan-bourbon bread pudding at Sazerac gets its nutty flavor from house-made pecan
milk (Seattle, WA); Four Barrel Coffee ditched soy milk in favor of almond milk for its vegan
cappuccinos (San Francisco, CA); True nut milk lovers can get fresh, homemade versions
delivered to their door by CAN CAN Nut Milk (San Francisco, CA).
Everything Under the Sea
It’s our most precious resource and chefs are using it wisely and innovatively. From sea beans to
fish cheeks, chefs are exploring the full bounty of the ocean and how to keep it a lasting
Ex: House-made plankton conchiglie pasta is served at Craigie on
Main (Cambridge, MA); Gitane offers a Monkfish liver pate garnished
with heirloom tomatoes, garum ice and seaweeds (San Francisco,
CA); Hopscotch serves octopus cooked under a brick with seaweed,
mizuna and a drizzle of ponzu (Oakland, CA); Restaurants like Alioto’s
(San Francisco, CA), Pescatore (San Francisco, CA) and Schooners
Coastal Kitchen & Bar (Monterey, CA) are longtime supporters of
sustainable seafood, as members of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program,
sometimes going so far as to indicate the origin and catching method of fish on their menus.
The Experts Agree!
“Picklers are venturing into marine vegetables to bring new texture and tastes.”
–Sarah Weiner, Director of the Good Food Awards, Seedling Projects
#CheckPlease: Trends in Restaurants
Kitchen Comes Tableside
Old-school service meets new school standards as restaurants are breaking down the barriers
between the kitchen and the diner with an updated return to tableside preparations.
Ex: The Caesar Salad at New York City’s Carbone is prepared tableside (New York, NY); The
Modern Star Canyon Margarita at Stampede 66 is finished with a tableside flourish of nitrogen
(Dallas, TX); Bollito Misto is carved tableside at Poggio Trattoria courtesy of their custom outfitted
carello (Sausalito, CA).
Forget about your run of the mill Chinese or Mexican spots, chefs are highlighting the lesserknown culinary traditions of countries like Macau and specific regional cuisines like Northern Thai.
Chefs are also exploring more exotic spices and flavors like Calabrian
peppers, Gochugaru flakes and Guajillo and Achiote chiles.
Ex: The fusion roots of Macanese cuisine are on full display at Fat Rice
(Chicago, IL); 1601 Bar & Kitchen gives San Franciscans their first taste of
Sri Lankan dishes (San Francisco, CA); San Francisco’s newest
contemporary Mexican restaurant, La Urbana, uses house-made Achiote
salt to dust their Chicharrones de Arroz, and Chile Arbol to braise their
Carne Asada (San Francisco, CA).
Whether it’s a casual café by day that transforms into fine dining by night or a restaurant that
shares its space with a retail shop, restaurant real estate is doing double duty.
Ex: The Pass and Provisions are two unique restaurants under one roof, one fine dining, the other
casual, led by the same chef duo (Houston, TX); Lifestyle Café Maison Trois Garcons features
seasonal dining surrounded by stunning art, furniture and more – and everything you dine on is
for sale (London, England); Salumeria is part larder, part casual lunch spot and part private
dining/event space, sharing its dining room and chef with the adjacent Central Kitchen (San
Who Doesn’t Love a Classic Comeback?
Iconic favorites will be making a comeback in 2014, with the reopening of old standards under
new management. Fresh face lifts prove everything old is new again.
Ex: Later this year New York’s celebrated Tavern on the Green will reopen as a smaller, 250-table
restaurant (New York, NY); North Beach’s legendary bar, Tosca Cafe, recently reopened under
Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield with a brand new full-service kitchen but maintains many of
the original touches like the jukebox, piano and red leather booths (San Francisco, CA); New
York’s iconic Rainbow Room is slated to reopen in fall of 2014 (New York, NY).
It’s a Movie, It’s a Painting, No It’s Live Art!
Take artwork digital by using projection for still and moving
pieces – it’s easy to keep things changing without
breaking the bank.
Ex: Oak fittingly projects an image of an oak tree on their
wall with a digital piece by local artist Robert Myers
(Dallas, TX); Vintage flamenco videos are projected on
the wall during dinner service at Canela (San Francisco,
Beyond the Tipping Point
Are restaurants, servers and diners ready for an update to our tipping culture? This hot topic has
the industry buzzing and we certainly haven’t heard the last of it – look for a move towards
pooled tips and service charges.
Ex: New York’s Sushi Yasuda takes its cue from Japan, compensating staff with salaries and not
accepting gratuities (New York, NY); Chez Panisse adds a service charge to every bill to cover
benefits and higher wages for all staff (Berkeley, CA); At State Bird Provisions, tips are pooled and
shared with front of the house and back of the house staff (San Francisco, CA).
The Experts Agree!
“I think the fire is lit and is starting to smolder. Maybe not next year, but soon we will
see a shift to service charges and service included.”
–Staffan Terje, Chef/Owner, Perbacco
The Year of the Brasserie
Diners are clamoring for the casual sophistication of the brasserie. Whether you crave steak
frites or just a see-and-be-seen atmosphere, this style of restaurant appeals to the Francophile in
all of us and will continue to grow in the coming year.
Ex: Andrew Carmellini’s boisterous and warm Lafayette is on every foodie’s must-try list and is
open morning ‘til night (New York, NY); London’s Brasserie Zédel is a love letter to the classic
Parisian brasserie (London, England); Anna Weinberg and Jennifer Puccio’s new hotspot The
Cavalier puts a distinctly British spin on the brasserie (San Francisco, CA); Chicago’s Kabocha
Japanese Brasserie proves that brasseries are no longer the sole realm of France (Chicago, IL).
With upscale dining rooms and innovative, handcrafted menus
to match, Asian food isn’t just for takeout anymore.
Ex: San Francisco Chef Brandon Jew will breathe new life into
Chinatown with a Chinese concept that emphasizes seasonal
ingredients and hand-made everything including tofu, soy
sauce and bean paste (San Francisco, CA); Michael Mina is bringing his elegant Japanese
concept Pabu to the west coast (Baltimore, MD); High-end Chinese restaurants like Hakkasan,
M.Y. China and Leader House are meeting the demand by expanding into multiple markets
around the world.
The Experts Agree:
“Interest in Japanese cuisine is increasing by leaps and bounds. Michael Mina is
bringing Pabu, a 10,000 sq.ft. Izakaya concept to downtown San Francisco.”
—Carol Gilbert, President, CGI (Retail Leasing and Development Specialists)
Raise the Bar, Lower the Lounge
When real estate is at a premium, make the most of your space by going vertical. Restaurants
are getting a height advantage by using basement and second story bars to create more
seating, a bigger dining room and a fatter bottom line.
Ex: Peel’s (New York, NY) and the soon-to-open Gaspar Brasserie (San Francisco, CA) send
guests upstairs for a seat at the bar; Borough built out their lower level as a cozy speakeasy
Don’t Get Drunk On An Empty Stomach
Chefs are getting into the bar business in a big way. We’re seeing a plethora of chef-driven bar
concepts that offer thoughtful bites to pair with complex cocktails and wine programs. Similarly,
traditional bars and wineries are adding composed dishes to their repertoire to enhance the
tasting experience and encourage patrons to linger.
Ex: Whey Bar is located inside the city’s popular Ox restaurant (Portland, OR); Seattle’s new
Barnacle bar comes from the chefs behind The Walrus and The Carpenter (Seattle, WA); The
Banshee Wines Tasting Room offers a full menu of savory items to complement its pours
Perk Up, Eat Up
As small batch roasters go mainstream and the public’s interest in esoteric coffees brews, the
food at your local coffee shop gets fancier too.
Ex: New York City’s Hi-Collar pairs your pour over with a pork katsu sandwich (New York City, NY).
Chef Coat Goes Lab Coat
Restaurants are getting serious about the science behind cooking. The new flavors, techniques
and textures coming out of culinary laboratories are the future of food.
Ex: At the Momofuku Culinary Lab they collaborate with scientists from Harvard and UCLA (New
York, NY); World-renowned chef José Andrés operates a culinary think tank in his restaurant
group’s offices, ThinkFood Group (Washington, D.C.); Chicago’s Grant Achatz incubates new
dishes for his world-famous Alinea in a custom outfitted culinary laboratory (Chicago, IL).
#RyeSoSerious: Trends in Beverage
Ice Ice Baby
Ice isn’t just for chilling – bars and restaurants are infusing their cubes with herbs and other
ingredients to enhance the flavors or their cocktails.
Ex: Baltimore’s Pabu serves a riff on the Mint Julep finished with a mint-flavored ice cube
(Baltimore, MD); Laurelhurst Market smokes its own ice for the signature Smoke Signals cocktail
Worth Their Weight
No need to commit to just one varietal or region – pay by the ounce and sample as many wines
as you can handle.
Ex: Taste just an ounce of highly prized and pricey offerings from famed producers such as Pétrus
and Château d’Yquem at Alain Ducasse’s Benoit (New York, NY); Claudine makes the most of
trendy wines on tap by charging just $1 per ounce during happy hour
(San Francisco, CA).
Artisan, Not Just for Ales
The artisanal movement hits spirits – highlighting local, small-batch spirit
makers is this year’s farmer call-out.
Ex: A new spin on an old favorite, Sens’ Corpse Reviver 2.0 features
local distiller St. George’s Terroir Gin (San Francisco, CA); At Frolik, the
Seattle Sazerac highlights locally distilled Oola Waitsburg Bourbon with
gomme syrup and yellow chartreuse (Seattle, WA).
Bite into your booze with cocktails that take a solid – and fun – form.
Ex: Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant’s Rogue
Chocolate Stout Real Beer Float with
Graham Cracker Squares is proof that soda
fountain cocktails aren’t going anywhere
(Mountain View, CA); Greg Lindgren of Rye
on the Road and Reza Esmaili of Ananas
and Derby served up potent snow cones at
the SF Chefs Food and Wine Festival (San
No longer the sole realm of Napa, more and more states are contributing to the growing
American wine movement. Restaurants that have long embraced a locavore ethos are revising
their wine lists to match.
Ex: Brooklyn’s Seersucker has an all-American wine list, with a majority of bottles from New York’s
North Fork and Finger Lakes regions (New York, NY).
Flights of Fancy
Offer up flights of unusual and small batch spirits, maybe even pairing them with food, and let a
night at the bar become educational.
Ex: Bartenders at Manhattan’s Pouring Ribbons will walk you through customized flights of their
extensive chartreuse offerings (New York, NY); Bourbon flights at Picán let diners explore the most
comprehensive bourbon collection west of the Mississippi (Oakland, CA).
¡Mas Vino, Por Favor!
¡Ay ay ay! Wines from the Iberian Peninsula are surpassing classic French varietals on restaurant
menus across the country, spicing up wine lists with Spanish and Portuguese flair.
Ex: Carmello’s showcases over 100 Portuguese wines from such regions as Alentejo, Douro, Doa,
Estremadura, and Vinho Verde (Manassas, VA); The wine list at D.C.’s Estadio explores vintages
from the Priorat, Castilla y León, and Rioja regions of Spain (Washington, D.C.).
The Experts Agree!
“We're having a love affair with Spain in the U.S. Spanish wines are en fuego value,
quality and the sensual exotic flair of Spain is contagious.”
– Kimberly Charles, Founder, Charles Communications Associates
Tea is topping off cocktails and making a big splash whether served hot or cold.
Ex: Charleston’s soon-to-open brewery Edmund’s Oast is brewing beers they call “Lords
Proprietors” made with tea from Charleston Tea Plantation (Charleston, SC); The Fifth Floor’s bar
menu features an Evening Tea cocktail with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Hojicha Green Tea,
King’s Ginger Liqueur and Degroff’s Pimento Bitters (San Francisco, CA).
The Experts Agree!
“Cascara Iced Tea anyone? It’s an herbal tea made using the dried fruit of the
coffee plant—refreshing and sweet!”
--Luigi Di Ruocco, Vice President, Mr. Espresso
#HotelMotelHolidayInn: Trends in Hotels & Travel
Taking a page from restaurants, hotels are partnering with local artisans, purveyors and
companies to give their properties a unique sense of place.
Ex: Hotel Vermont offers guests locally produced aromatherapy body and
skin care products from Lunaroma (Burlington, VT); Berkeley’s Hotel Shattuck
Plaza offers the “Touchdown Bears, Bring Down Fares” package, which gives
guests the opportunity to decrease their room rate by the number of points
scored by the Bears during Cal home games. The hotel’s FIVE Restaurant &
Bar offers game-day drink specials that feature home team and visiting team
cocktails (Berkeley, CA).
A “Have It Your Way” Stay
Custom pillow menus were just the beginning. From “raid the pantry” privileges to choose-yourown bath amenities menus, hotels are realizing that variety is the spice of life.
Ex: Woodmark Hotel has abandoned the traditional mini bar in exchange for access to a guest
pantry where guests can snag complimentary late night snacks and drinks (Kirkland, WA);
Fairmont Kea Lani’s “Fill Your Fridge” service lets guests work with the concierge before arrival to
select items for their bars (Maui, HI).
Delight in Discovery
Life’s a journey, not a destination. Integrate experiential luxury and make the guest’s stay about
more than just high thread count. Appeal to the crowds, young and old, who care more about
where they’ve been and what they’ve done than what they own.
Ex: Rosewood Hotel Group’s Rosewood Curators program taps well-known locals and celebrities
to share the places and rituals that inspire them while on vacation; More than just a private jet
company, Intrav specializes in curated and custom-designed journeys that take travelers around
the world on a customized private Boeing 757.
Travelers are expanding their horizons when it comes to getting around while on vacation, from
bikes to cars it’s all about sharing the ride.
Ex: Relay Rides lets you rent another person’s car and vice versa, even at the airport; From San
Francisco to Paris, cities are offering bikes for locals and
travelers on the go.
Offer more than just a standard dog bed and bowl to
travelers with pets. Owners are ready and willing to pay
a premium to indulge their small sidekicks.
Ex: For their guests with pets, Portland’s Hotel Monaco arranges walks, grooming and even
sessions with a pet psychic (Portland, OR); the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel welcomes pets with their
Paw-fect Pet program (Washington, D.C.).
Relax, You Can Eat It Too
Pamper guests with treatments made with edible ingredients. They’re all natural and good for
more than just the environment.
Ex: The Almond Joy experience spa package at the Oxford treats guests to a coconut sugar
scrub, chocolate body mask and an almond oil massage (Denver, CO); The Claremont Hotel
Club & Spa harnesses the natural antioxidant properties of
Hawaiian Coffee Fruit with their line of anti-aging treatments
(Berkeley, CA); Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa’s Vista Blue Spa
incorporates locally-grown strawberries into its treatments, which
are packed with vitamin-C, alpha-hydroxy and other ingredients
that do wonders for the skin and hair (Monterey, CA).
Wired & Pumped Up
With technology making its way into hotel gyms, guests can dial up their very own personal
trainer using apps and hi-def screens for a personalized and effective workout.
Ex: At the Parc 55, treadmills come equipped with interactive and immersive “outdoor”
adventures complete with scenery and resistance that changes with the terrain (San Francisco,
CA); Mobile apps like Shape Travelista and Six Pack App Pro let you get your heart rate up
without leaving your room.
#TakinItToTheStreets: General Marketing Trends
Eat Your Adventure
Restaurants are picking slower nights to delve into a theme or
concept. Unique menus allow guests to travel without leaving their
hometown and leave with a deeper understanding of a specific
region, cooking style or ingredient.
Ex: Travel the Spice Route at E&O Asian Kitchen with monthly menus
designed around the ancient spice route (San Francisco, CA);
Month-long regional dinner menus at barbacco eno trattoria delve
deeply into the cuisine and prized dishes of key Italian regions (San
Everyone’s a Critic
As traditional media cuts more and more of their food coverage, the era of the anonymous
food critic may be coming to an end. This is paving the way for a plethora of bloggers and
freelancers with no shortage of opinions and huge rosters of followers. Bottom line? You never
know who’s dining in your restaurant and how their experience will shape the future of your
Ex: Even Eater, a site known for telling it like it is, is eliminating their anonymous comment
privileges - you’ve got to announce yourself if you want your opinions heard; The Ulterior Epicure
writes about restaurants from around the world on his widely-read blog which includes his over
6,000 twitter followers (Kansas City, MO).
Restaurateurs are becoming increasingly concerned by the influence of yelp reviews and are no
longer sitting silently by. We predict the power of yelp may be waning, but in the meantime
restaurants are going so far as to create dedicated roles to publicly respond to reviews.
Ex: M.Y. China created a Director of Enjoyment position, whose function is to manage Yelp
responses and create an engaged and active voice on Yelp (San Francisco, CA).
Savvy young chefs are sharing when, where and what they are eating, cooking and doing on
Instagram. Anticipation builds for fans and diners who can’t wait to try what they’ve been
Ex: A few mouthwatering folks to follow: @matthewjennings (of Farmstead, Providence, RI);
@tim_hollingsworth (formerly of The French Laundry, Yountville, CA); @brettmichaelcooper (of
Outerlands, San Francisco, CA).
Too noisy, too dark, too hard to find? Tech tools can help the baby boomers enjoy their dining
experience. Restaurants can get in on the millennial action too by staying up on the latest in
Ex: The Magnifying Glass app lets diners see your menu better; Capture tech-savvy millennial
with #cleverhashtags, Instagram contests, and Facebook secret passwords.
Still Poppin’ Big Time
Pop-up restaurants aren’t just the purview of chefs.
Brands, and even countries, are popping up for
limited runs and causing a big stir.
Ex: New Zealand’s Waiheke Island Yacht Club in San
Francisco took advantage of their America’s Cup run
to introduce new ingredients from their country (San
Francisco, CA); The Conservatory at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone turns culinary
curriculum into a “crop-up” restaurant run by legendary chef Larry Forgione (St. Helena, CA);
Celebrity Cruises became the first cruise line to pop-up, taking over San Francisco’s Stable Cafe
for two days of their award-winning “from scratch” menus (San Francisco, CA).
Eat Now / Text Later
Restaurants are combatting the lure of the small screen by getting serious with their cell phone
policies. Put away your phone and focus on the food, the atmosphere and the company.
Ex: Introduce the Phone Stack Game – phones go in the center of the table, first to grab their
device picks up the check; With the strictest cell phone policy in L.A., Bucato keeps the phone
use to a minimum with designated cell phone areas outside the restaurant (Los Angeles, CA);
D.C. eatery Rogue24 makes diners sign a no cell phone use contract when dining at the
restaurant (Washington, D.C.).
Ride, Dine & Sign
Restaurants, particularly in difficult-to-park-in neighborhoods, are partnering with transportation
companies, from local taxis to luxury ridesharing company Uber, to encourage diners to ditch
their rides for a discount.
Ex: JM Curley’s in Boston’s Downtown Crossing shows their support of Uber by providing diners
with discounts on meals with proof of travel (Boston, MA); Soon-to-open Stone’s Throw in San
Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood is offering Uber credit proportional to the cost of the dinner
tab (San Francisco, CA); Water Taxi Miami partners with waterfront restaurants to offer a 10%
discount or free appetizer to patrons who choose to ride by water (Miami, FL).
Andrew Freeman & Co. is a high-energy hospitality agency with a unique blend of expertise in marketing, publicity and
creative services. The AF&Co team will do whatever it takes to build awareness for clients and ultimately increase sales.
AF&Co offers tailored, flexible programs that include: creative/concept development, branding, recruiting, graphic
design, public relations, sales/marketing, training, event management, and more depending on the clients’ needs. The
AF&Co team is creative, direct and fun, and focuses on the areas that they are passionate about: restaurants and
beverages, travel and hotels, and lifestyle personalities and products. For more information, visit afandco.com or follow
them on Facebook or Twitter.
An industry veteran, prior to opening AF&Co. 8 years ago, Andrew worked at legendary New York venues including
Windows on the World, the Russian Tea Room and the Rainbow Room. Eventually Andrew left New York to become the
Vice President of Public Relations and Strategic Partnerships for Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, based in San Francisco.
He spent ten years with Kimpton, launching the global brand and over 40 hotels and restaurants. Andrew is currently the
head of a dynamic hospitality agency offering full service marketing, public relations and consulting for hotels and
restaurants. In the 8 years since opening, the agency has concepted, launched and promoted over 200 hotels and
restaurants. AF&Co. is also responsible for the co-production of SF Chefs, San Francisco’s largest food and wine festival,
now going into its sixth year.