Why South Florida Is Set to Be the Next Hot Food Scene

By Mae Velasco, Associate Editor

South Florida is on fire, and not just because of its sunny temperatures. Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach are heating up the restaurant industry and making moves as culinary cities. While Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco are heralded for their distinct foodie personalities, diverse offerings, and as the homes of James Beard Award winners, South Florida has been going through major transformations.

From food trucks to haute cusine, from celebrity chefs migrating to the Magic City to potential food halls, this area has come far from its days being branded as the capital of Cuban restaurants and nightclubs. In fact, the Sun Sentinel reported that 800 new restaurants have cropped up across Miami-Dade to Palm Beach County since 2006. Only more are on the way.

"There seems to be a restaurant opening every where," Todd Herbst — who co-owns Big Time Restaurant Group of West Palm Beach, the brains behind favorites like Rocco's Tacos and Louie Bossi's — told the Sun Sentinel. "Seems like a gold rush."

But restaurants cannot be successful without an important part to the industry: consumers. The guests and customers who give these businesses life. And according to Foodable Labs, the affluent South Florida market is growing, now at 1.5 million consumer influencers who impact the buying decisions of other consumers.

Restaurant and Hospitality Influencer Audience in South Florida

Note: The number of influencers are in the thousands for this graph. Foodie influencers are defined as those who eat out 7+ times per month. Entertainment influencers visit bars, nightclubs, and hotels 3+ times per month. Foodable Labs, through the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), analyzes more than 167K restaurant and hospitality brands and over 220MM global restaurant consumers across 500K foodservice locations.

The Breakdown of South Florida's Influencer Audience

When Foodable Labs analyzes influence, it is a comprehensive view on the brand's general and hyper-user. Foodable Labs determines who those hyper-users, or influencers, are, typically consumers with great social media power that ultimately affects the brand's audience through the ways they themselves engage with their favorite brands.

With South Florida's affluent influencer market hitting 1.5 million, South Florida is set to be the next hottest food scene. Whether consumer or influencer, the restaurant and hospitality audience in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach is solid.  

Of the influencers, Foodable Labs analyzed a few categories. Foodie influencers are foodies who eat out seven or more times per month. Entertainment Influencers are consumers who visit bars, night clubs, and hotels at least three times per month. Travel Influencers, although not shown in the graph above, are still an integral part to South Florida tourism. These individuals engage with local restaurants, hotels, and destinations four or more times per city visit.

Here's the breakdown:

  • Miami-Dade County — Miami: 123,000 Foodie Influencers, 131,000 Entertainment Influencers, and 1.4 million Travel influencers.
  • Broward County — Fort Lauderdale: 51,000 Foodie Influencers, 81,000 Entertainment Influencers, and 659,000 Travel Influencers.
  • Palm Beach County — West Palm Beach: 32,000 Foodie Influencers, 54,000 Entertainment Influencers, and 591,000 Travel Influencers.

Foodable Is Headed to the Beach With 3 New Shows

The South Florida audience dedicated to the restaurant and hospitality industry is impressive, which is exactly why aside from being the next hottest food scene, South Florida is Foodable's newest target audience. So, how do we plan on connecting and reaching with the individuals who are just as passionate as we are about all things food and fun? With our latest launched platform, Foodable REACH

While Foodable Network covers national and international news, Foodable REACH "reaches in" to get deep into the heart and pulse of local communities, to uncover the stories of the people and professionals who make up their home, and follow the trends that are taking over these culinary destinations. Although other Foodable REACH cities will launch later this year, the first on the map is REACH Miami.

"South Florida was a natural choice for launching our REACH Miami platform, which focuses on the affluent consumers who frequent restaurants, entertainment, and consumer hospitality," Foodable Founder and CEO Paul Barron said. "South Florida is No. 6 in growth markets when it comes to population and the No. 2 growth market for foodies, only next to San Francisco."

Foodable REACH will open up Foodable Network services — video and custom episode, social, digital, creative editorial content, and advertisement services — to local businesses for the first time. 

"In the past, these were only available to national companies, but now with REACH, the local power of consumers and professionals will be showcased," Barron said.

Curious to see how REACH Miami will be kicking off 2017? Stay tuned for these shows premiering soon:

  • Top Shelf Miami, designed to feature the best artisan mixologists, craft spirits, and rich beverage products in the business. 
  • REACH News, which follows who's who and what's trending across South Florida, all through rich editorial content and top lists.
  • Hotel Boutique, a new hotel and travel show highlighting the most game-changing players in the South Florida hospitality scene.