Flexible casual or “flex-casual” is set to be the next trend to hit the UK after its appearance in the US, according to Darren Tristano, vice-president of American restaurant research company Technomic. Speaking at M&C Report’s 2011 Restaurant Conference, Tristano said that the new trend in the US, which is a crossover between casual and fast-casual. He said: “We are seeing limited service operators shift their offer to full service at 5pm and introducing a more sophisticated evening service. By doing this they are leveraging the dine-in atmosphere/experience. “They are also complimenting convenient, the fast lunch opportunity with more relaxed dinner occasions.”