Reporting on food trends is interesting because there’s always something new to discuss. Some “hot” food trends are passing fads, while others work themselves onto restaurant menus for years.
If you own a restaurant (or are considering opening one) you know food trends matter. You also have to worry about the demographic makeup of where your restaurant is—as many of you well know, some people clamor for kale, while others shun it.
According to restaurant consultants AF&Co. in its annual food trends report, The Pleasure Principle: The “I Want What I Want When I Want It” Year in Food, Beverage and Hospitality, there’s been a “surge of hip new concepts, personalized service and customized experiences” in the industry, driven by an improving economy and desire to attract Millennials.
AF&Co. recommends restaurants add (or call attention to) some of the following foods to their menus:
- Spanish cuisine
Breakfast for dinner:
- Scrambled eggs
- Savory pancakes—made with sourdough, sauerkraut, or whole-grain cheddar pancakes with heirloom tomatoes and roasted garlic or zucchini pancakes
- Spicy—particularly ethnic food “that packs a punch”
- Sour—pickles, vinegary shrub-based cocktails, mustards, kimchi
And for dessert:
- Candy—whether retro, artisanal or newfangled. AF&Co. says, “Candy is coming on strong. Sweet and unique, house-made candies can be the perfect way to close out a meal.”
- Soft serve ice cream, though the report recommends you not call it ice cream. Instead it’s about “seasonal flavors, innovative sundae combinations and a plethora of sophisticated toppings.”
Lunchtime will be more challenging for restaurants this year since more employees are eating lunch at the office. Some suggestions to fight what AF&Co. labels “The Incredible Shrinking Lunch Hour” include adding more menu items to take-out menus, offering food delivery and opening a (much) smaller to-go-only venue.
If you’re in need of funding (we all know restaurants are not cheap to run), consider crowdfunding. According to the report, nearly 3,000 food and restaurant projects have raised $41.47 million through Kickstarter since 2009.
Oh, and kale’s 15 minutes of fame are apparently over. AF&Co. predicts banana blossom salad will be the new kale.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.