Last month, the National Restaurant Association came out with the top food trends of 2016. Many of the trends involved local sourcing and environmental sustainability, which was similar to the trends in 2015, and the year before that, but they note that trends tend to evolve slowly over time. Trends that are more lifestyle changes, like environmental sustainability, are even more slow to evolve.
In case you didn’t see the list, we posted it here for you:
Now that you know what’s “trendy”, do you choose to jump on this bandwagon or stick with what you’re already doing? Some of this decision will be based upon what your restaurant is like. Are you focused on home-cooked comfort food? Some people say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” That might be true, but you might benefit from sourcing your meat and vegetables locally. You might already be doing this. (Aren’t you trendy?!) If not, and you decide to start sourcing locally, there are considerations. If you’re sourcing locally, you’ll have the freshest food – and you’ll want to keep it that way! You might need to add additional refrigerated storage. Ideally you’ll only order what you need in a short time-frame, so maybe an undercounter refrigerator is all you need to add to the mix. If you’re going to be busy, you might add a bigger two door reach in refrigerator. Keep in mind, many vegetables do not need to be stored in the refrigerator. So, maybe you just need to add a few more shelves. Easy! Your food will taste fresh and you’ll be helping your local community – it’s a win-win!
What about healthful kids meals? Should you say out with the chicken tenders and in with whole grain pasta? I’m pretty sure chicken tenders aren’t your only dish that requires a deep fryer! If so, I say make the change and save the space in your kitchen! Parents love the option of having healthier items to choose from on the kids menu, so even if you keep the fried chicken, consider adding more healthy choices. Adding a new menu item that uses stuff you currently have on hand should be a quick change that could increase your business!
The tenth trend is house-made/artisan ice cream. While delicious, do you have what you need to keep your ice cream frozen? While you probably don’t need an 8 flavor ice cream dipping cabinet, you might need additional freezer space. You’re not going to be able to feed a lot of guests on 1 quart of ice cream. Better free up some space before you’re forced to serve artisan cream.
Number sixteen, ethnic-inspired breakfast items – we’re hoping that’s a fancy way of saying “breakfast tacos!” Here in Texas, we have tacos for breakfast. lunch and dinner. We feel like the rest of the country is seriously missing out. If there ever was a trend to latch onto, this is the one! What’s it doing way down at number 16 anyway? This one should be number one!
Last, but not least is food trucks. I know here in Austin we’ve been eating out of food trucks for years! It’s a great, affordable way for aspiring chefs to get their start. Wanna jump on this trend? (warning: shameless plug ahead!) ShortOrder.com has all the equipment you need to get started, and has outfitted quite a few of these restaurants on wheels. This trend is another one that needs to stick around. It’s an exciting change to the restaurant industry and a way around the financial roadblocks that are often found when trying to achieve your dreams of restaurant ownership.
What other trends are you seeing that didn’t make the list? Join the conversation on our Facebook page!