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NRA Study Looks at Operational Trends for 2013

Chefs talk technology, menu and more.

Heading into 2013 foodservice professionals remain cognizant of a variety of operational challenges they will need to address in the coming year such as higher ingredient costs and the need to further integrate technology into their businesses. And the National Restaurant Association's "What's Hot in 2013" study, done in conjunction with the American Culinary Federation, sheds some light on the way operators plan to address these challenges.

For example, when asked how to best handle the increasing cost of ingredients, 32 percent said changing menus, 25 percent said adjusting plate composition and another 24 percent said exploring new sourcing options. Only 4 percent said that raising menu prices is the best strategy.

With respect to the need to provide more better-for-you menu items, 55 percent of the chefs said they always make efforts to adjust dishes and recipes to be more healthful, while 37 percent said they cook with nutrition in mind, but that not all recipes are easily adjusted.

In addition, 27 percent of chefs ranked tablet computers, such as iPads, as the hottest technology trend in restaurants in 2013, followed closely by smartphone apps (25 percent). Nineteen percent said mobile/wireless/pay-at-the-table options will be the hottest tech trend.