Just one word: Pies

That will be the hot trend in restaurants next year, according to an SF consultant. "This is not just sweet pies, this is savory pies, bite-sized pies. They are even blended into milkshakes," says Andrew Freeman. "I'll eat pie if I don't get this one right at the end of the year." Other trends that Freeman sees, from Nation's Restaurant News:

• The new mom and pop. Self-financed restaurants built on limited budgets are growing in number. "This is an economic decision," he said. "There are a lot of people out there who still want to open up restaurants, and it's a good opportunity to look at real estate in a down economy." The restaurants are typically small and the owners are extremely involved. Some examples are eVe in Berkeley, Calif., and Sons & Daughters in San Francisco.

• One-ingredient restaurants. "Restaurateurs are taking one ingredient and building full restaurants around them," Freeman said. Following on the several-year trend of gourmet burgers, the trend is extending to grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs and sliders. "We're predicting perhaps a peanut butter restaurant next or a big biscuit restaurant," he said.

• Mini plates. "Small plates were the big buzz word over the last couple of years," Freeman said. "This year mini is the new buzz word. Mini everything: mini portions, mini desserts." The reason, he said, is it fits into tighter budgets. "Everybody wants a little more of everything. Our sense of wanting to be satisfied and fulfilled and experience as much as possible is really, really key."

Of course, the biggest trend restaurant owners would like to see next year is more customers.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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