Hot food trends? Not so fast.

Those of us in the restaurant industry enjoy reading about the food trends that were predicted this time last year. Not many came true. For instance, you won’t find bacon shakes at Clearman’s North Woods Inn.

What did happen was that consumers turned the corner on their use of technology when it comes to making comparisons, checking what restaurants are in their area, reading online reviews and booking their table on line. They also have increased involvement in social media communication with restaurants. We know this ourselves with so many customers interacting with us, posting pictures of their meals and joining in our contests.

What has remained constant is the customers’ demand for value at every price point. This doesn’t mean “more for less.” It could even mean “more for more.” Diners are willing to spend another dollar for a better burger or for an improved dining environment.

Bottom line: People want value. Diners want dependable quality, dependable quantity, and dependable service. That’s what our restaurants promise and deliver every day. So let the chains come up with crazy new dishes like Tabasco Salad. While that might be a hot trend, our customers would go nuts if we took the Red Cabbage Salad off the menu.