The following are the top five dining trends for 2010, as divined from a survey of client properties by hotel/conference center management company Benchmark Hospitality.
1. Cultural diversity and authenticity reign supreme. Just as restaurant patrons have become more culturally diverse, so have the dishes being crafted for them, with an accent on authentic flavors and ingredients.
2. Health and wellness begin at home. Children increasingly are the focus of nutrition education, leading more adults to set a good example.
3. Biodiversity, sustainability and family farms are in. Expect to see more small farms and producers of chicken, cattle and cheese waging a small but significant war against mass production and waste.
4. The future of American flavors is the world. Consumers and chefs are expanding their repertoire of spices from around the globe.
5. Social media is revolutionizing restaurant menus and service. Offerings are being tweaked in response to a flurry of consumer feedback.