Trends

Keeping the foodservice equipment marketplace up to date with the latest menu and concept trends.

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Safety, convenience and reduced financial risk make small foodservice operations appealing today.

Tweaks to seating and serving come into play at coffee shops.

Prepared food has long been a part of supermarkets’ repertoire, but some retailers have taken in-store dining a step further: becoming a grocerant.

Premade and prepackaged grab-and-go foods and snacks offer an alternative, portable dining option.

In the small town of Varmland, Sweden, the coronavirus pandemic led to the creation of a unique pop-up restaurant. Called Bord For En, which means Table for One, the pop-up consists of simply that — a table set for a single diner in the middle of a meadow. One diner a day, served a three-course meal delivered by basket down a cable wire (no waitstaff involved) and a pay-what-you-want system.

The snack segment takes many forms in foodservice. For some restaurants, it encompasses a section of the menu apart from more significant appetizers and small plates. Operations like sports and cocktail bars may offer complimentary snacks on the bar, like nuts and olives.

Sanitation and cleanliness efforts skyrocketed with the pandemic. While continuing with various phases of reopening, it is imperative for operators to continue to enforce safe food-handling protocols, says Larry Lynch, the National Restaurant Association’s senior vice president of Certification & Operations.

As takeout options continue to increase, eco-friendly packaging options come into question in terms of balancing sustainability goals with costs, availability and new normal realities.

Operators must remain vigilant and ready to respond if they receive an influx of COVID-19-infected patients in the future.

Warren Solochek looks at the future of social responsibility efforts as the restaurant industry emerges from COVID-19-related dining room closures in this fourth installment of FE&S’ 2020 Vision series. Solochek offers his insights as an independent foodservice industry consultant with nearly 40 years of industry analysis experience.

“Despite all the chaos, hospital patients with or without COVID-19 must receive food at least three times a day,” says Martha Rardin, MS, RD, CD, FAND, director of Nutrition and Dietetics and the diabetes coordinator, at Hendricks Regional Health in Danville, Ind.

Disruption may reign right now, but college and university foodservice leaders are busy strategizing for what the future may look like and how dining can continue to contribute to the campus experience, whatever form that might take. Here’s a quick look at trends and innovations some say will continue to shape or reshape programs in response to COVID-19.

The sandwich segment was well positioned to withstand the challenges and limitations of the pandemic. The majority of these operations are limited service, providing easy conversion to off-premises services.

With COVID-19 upending everything and fall semester fast approaching, questions about what’s next loom large for most of the nation’s college and university dining programs. The biggest and most immediate of those: Will there be students and staff physically on campus to feed?

Cafeteria and retail sales fell dramatically at most hospitals starting in mid-March. In mid-June when some hospitals resumed elective surgeries and more medical and administrative staff returned to working on-site, various facilities started to report an uptick in sales.

A sometimes overlooked subset of college and university dining, two-year community colleges and technical schools are experiencing the same uncertainty right now as their four-year counterparts. But with COVID-19 fears and safety protocols dashing students’ hopes for a traditional residential campus experience, and with community colleges offering affordability, the ability to transfer credits, and the option of living at home until the dust settles, the segment could be a bright spot.

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