Food Trend Forecast for 2014: Technomic vs. NRA Predictions

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Food Trend Forecast for 2014: Technomic vs. NRA PredictionsHere at ShortOrder, we like to keep an eye on what’s ahead in the food industry. From new restaurant equipment technology to fast casual trends to the best ways to promote your restaurant, we’re interested in keeping you informed and supplying you with the best restaurant equipment for success.

This week we’re looking at the top trends on the horizon for the upcoming year as brought to you by two major players in informing the food industry. Technomic, a leading food industry consulting and research firm, has put out a list of the top developments expected in 2014 based on data gathered from site visits across the U.S., interviews and surveys of operators, chefs, and consumers, qualitative data from its Digital Resource Library, and quantitative data from its MenuMonitor database. The National Restaurant Association (NRA), a leading business association for the restaurant industry, has also created a list of predictions for 2014. This one was culled from a survey of more than 1,200 members of the American Culinary Federation. The results of these two lists are mixed, with some overlapping trends and some disparities.

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Fast Casual Restaurant Trend Alert: Potatoes

Friday, November 15th, 2013

We like to keep an eye on trends in the fast casual segment here at ShortOrder, and recently we spotted one that’s particularly a-peel-ing. Apparently potatoes are what’s hot—so to speak—in fryers across the nation. Because the potato is a versatile vegetable (boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew), there are many possibilities when it comes to catering to customers in need of a creative spud.

The potato trend is actually one that’s resurfacing. It was a big deal back in about 2008, when it seemed that every oven in a quick service restaurant was making room for potatoes and sweet potatoes. Now, a recent twist has found a place in the fast casual industry, and a few places, like Potatopia, have even made the potato the star of a single-item menu. Not unlike the fast casual personal pizza trend, the potato trend focus seems to be mostly on variety, customization, and toppings.

So how can you hop on the potato trend bandwagon?

Start by exploring all your potato possibilities. First, the things you can do to the actual potato: bake, boil, mash, twice-bake, thrice-bake, pancake, smash, sauté, fry, pie, and chip are just a few that come to mind. When you’re equipped with the right restaurant equipment, there is no limit to the number of ways you can cook a potato.

Next, the art of dressing the potato. Old standbys like cheese, sour cream, and butter are, of course, a good idea, but you can easily branch out to let customers personalize their potatoes with sauces, meats, vegetables, and more.

Then make sure you’ve got the right equipment. The kitchen at Potatopia, for example, houses a double-decker convection oven, fryers, and a hybrid convection-microwave oven. Gather up a variety of restaurant equipment, and make sure you get high-quality equipment like Gen2 fryers. If your menu is based around a single item, you don’t want your main ingredient to be a lackluster part of the dish.

Has your fast casual eatery capitalized on the potato trend? What kinds of restaurant equipment and fryers have you used? Let us know by connecting with ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook!

 

Into the Fryers: The Designer Doughnut Trend

Friday, September 13th, 2013

It all started with the Cronut.

Well, perhaps not, but it certainly exploded after the Cronut. Pastry-hawkers the world over have been heating up their fryers to participate in a deep-fried, sugar-glazed fad: the designer doughnut trend.

The Cronut is a cross between a croissant and a doughnut, and it is just as delicious as it sounds. Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York launched the Cronut on May 10, 2013, and it has since exploded into viral fame and become a much-imitated favorite. However, the Cronut was not the first to use fryers to put a high-end spin on America’s favorite deep-fried breakfast food. Places like Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon have been making unusual doughnuts since the early 2000s, and Psycho Donuts in Campbell, California has been in operation since 2009. Today, doughnut purveyors of all kinds are producing gourmet glazed goodness from their fryers. Designer doughnuts are showing up in all segments of the restaurant industry, from fine dining to fast food. In fact, according to Datassential’s MenusTrends data, doughnuts are now on 4% of all restaurant menus, a 27% increase since 2008.

Dunkin’ Donuts is just one of the many establishments capitalizating on the designer doughnut fad. Dunkin’, which seasonally offers pumpkin-flavored doughnuts, is adding a new one to its fryers this fall: a pumpkin pie doughnut filled with buttercream, topped with white icing and graham cracker topping. Likewise, Gourdough’s, a food truck in Austin, Texas that opened in late 2009 that serves up artisan dessert doughnuts from its fryers, expanded its options earlier this year by opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant with a menu full of savory doughnut dishes like chicken and doughnut hole dumplings, donut burgers, and salads that come served with a “piping hot garlic doughnut”.  And Earth + Ocean Food and Drink in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, which opened in February of this year, features Portuguese doughnuts (“malsadas”).

What do you think of the designer doughnut trend? Have you used your restaurant’s fryers or commercial restaurant equipment to create artisan spins on old fast food favorites? Connect with ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and tell us! You can also follow us to keep with more restaurant industry trends and tips.

Fire Up Your Restaurant Equipment for the Food Truck Buzz

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

In recent years, the humble food truck has moved beyond the street vendor stereotype into the realm of specialty foods, serving up everything from Asian fusion to gourmet doughnuts. That’s why food trucks employ all kinds of restaurant equipment to serve up their unique mobile cuisine to fans and followers. It seems that there is now a fleet of food trucks in every major city, and the types of food they serve are just as numerous as the trucks themselves. Some cities even have designated places where food trucks can congregate during the day, allowing patrons to travel to them.

If you are considering catching the food truck wave, read on. You can use these tips to make your way to portable culinary success.

Choosing a Concept

A food truck doesn’t have to rely on a gimmick or a complicated concept to be successful. While competition for quality is indeed high amongst food trucks, the important thing is to consistently serve quality food in a clean, friendly atmosphere. So whether a food truck’s menu is rooted in Brazilian street food or French desserts, great food and great service should always be top priority.

Buying Restaurant Equipment for a Food Truck

There is no major difference between the actual restaurant equipment for a full-sized kitchen and restaurant equipment for a food truck. However, you should consider the size factor when buying restaurant equipment for a food truck. You will have less room to maneuver than in a normal kitchen, so space-efficient equipment is best.

Setting up a Food Truck

The arrangement of your food truck’s kitchen will help determine its efficiency and success. You’ll need to choose restaurant equipment that allows you to move freely, especially during peak business hours, but you’ll also need your layout to be flexible so you can change out restaurant equipment if your menu alters.

Powering a Food Truck

Different components inside a food truck’s kitchen will have different power requirements. Keep in mind that everything in your mobile kitchen should be 120V. Additionally, griddles and ovens have a higher power requirement than other pieces of restaurant equipment like refrigeration units, so they will most likely need a tow-able generator.

Connect with ShortOrder

What restaurant equipment do you use in your food truck? Have you had success in the food truck business? Reach out to ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and tell us about your experiences!

2010 Food Trends and Your Restaurant

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

The Food Channel recently released their list of predictions about the Top 10 Food Trends for 2010. At the top of the list? Basic ingredients — “keeping it real,” they call it, adding that there will be a shift from convenience foods to scratch cooking thanks to people having more time than money because of the economy. Another prediction on the list is for growth in grocery stores. There’s no “glory” in using name-brand products anymore — generic products have actually become their own brands.

That covers what’ll be on the table at home, but what about at restaurants? The Food Channel calls it “Experimental Nation:” People are redefining what it means to go out to eat, so restaurant concepts are in flux. They predict that restaurants with concepts having to do with DIY and “fresh” will “do well.” Since it’s all about experimentation, they note that many concepts will come and go as consumers decide what they like.

Number four on the list is “all about flavor delivery.” They say we’re defining a “new Global Flavor Curve” in America because of the new flavors immigrants have brought to the table. Think of your grandparents or great-grandparents: Chances are they immigrated to America from overseas — and they probably brought with them their own ways of making food. Mixing our heritage into American food can result in some creative dishes and unique flavors. As the Food Network says, the “presentation of food, the flavor, and the experimentation is coming into its own in 2010.” They call it “American, the New Ethnic.”

  • More highlights from the list of 2010 food trends:
  • Food vetting. People want to know where their food came from.
  • People and companies will become sustainable because they genuinely want to make a difference.
  • Food with added nutrients to increase nutritional value.

Is  your restaurant going to incorporate some of the trends included in this list? If you need restaurant equipment to make new dishes on  your menu, don’t miss our impressive selection of Vulcan ranges, Hobart slicers, Manitowoc ice machines and more.

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