If Andrew Freeman, a marketing consultant for restaurants nationwide, is accurate in his prediction, the incredibly high demand for pie will extend well beyond the holidays in 2011. "If I had one trend — one trend — of the year that I could predict, this would be the trend for pie," he said (*1).
The top trend in 2010 was the emergence of cupcakes--an emergence so prominent that cupcake cafes have been a driving force in improving New York City's unemployment rate (*2). Freeman suggests that 2011 could see pie following in the footsteps of cupcakes, with increased interest and experimentation leading to a rise in sweet pies, savory pies, bite-sized pies, and even pies blended into milkshakes.
A recent article by The New York Times that covers pie's growing momentum supports Freeman's forecast, citing creations like green chili apple pie, chocolate red chili pie, and walnut honey pie as innovative evidence of an industry that's ready to explode (*3). If that weren't enough, consider my personal favorite, the cherpumple. Made of three pies (cherry, pumpkin, and apple) baked inside of three cake layers that are held together by cream cheese frosting, the cherpumple is sure to get customers talking.
Should you abandon your current operation and invest all of your money in a pie shop? No, probably not. But, if you don't already offer pie as part of your menu's dessert options, doing so now may prevent you from missing out on the profitability associated with next year's top restaurant trend.