Anyone who's spent a lot of time in the restaurant industry can tell you that the trends come and go. You don't have to be an insider to notice this, though—anyone who simply dines out in a major metropolitan hub on a regular basis can tell you the exact same thing.
Restaurant consultant Abbe Diaz has 25 years in the industry under her belt, both as a former maitre d' and as a regular, food-loving civilian. She spoke to CNBC.com about the trends she's seeing in Big Apple eateries, some of which are driven by consumers and others that are driven by restaurants.
"Japanese gastropubs," she said. "They deal primarily in sake, with good food to keep you there. ... It probably has a lot to do with restaurants finding it easier to obtain a beer and wine license, and sake falls under those categories. Full liquor licenses—'ABC licenses'—are much harder and more expensive to get."
Diaz said she believes many other restaurant-driven trends are a function of economics as well.
"Since rents keep going up, places get smaller and smaller, so you'll see specialized things," she said. "Five or six dishes that are easy to make, more takeout than fine dining."
She also observed that "Jamaican might be the new Mexican."
CNBC.com spoke with experts on the front lines of the restaurant industry and got their takes on the trends you may see when cooking fatigue sends you away from your home to dine. Read ahead and find out what some of them are.
—By CNBC's Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 30 July 2014
"Restaurant Startup" is on a quest to discover, invest in and launch America's next generation of epicurean superstars. Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.