Trends

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

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Restaurants may have cleaning and sanitation procedures and training in place, but to be effective, operators need to properly enforce these steps. Inspection reports made public by the Center for Science in the Public Interest as well as word of mouth via social media serve as big incentives to making sure staff follow the necessary steps to the letter.

Just as on the commercial side of the industry, K-12 foodservice operators have been forced to create new operating playbooks during the COVID-19 crisis. And just as for restaurant operators, the fluidity of the situation and persistent spread of the coronavirus demands flexibility and determination on the part of directors and their staffs to adjust and adapt.

Kathleen Held was promoted from chief marketing officer to chief executive officer for Cini•Little International, a Maryland-based foodservice consulting firm.

Last month’s Service Insights focused on how equipment misuse and abuse leads to avoidable service calls on the hot side.

Sushi concepts and inclusion on menus keep growing across the country, as the on-trend, healthful cuisine continues to gain widespread appeal.

Fire-roasted foods impart a unique, very distinctive flavor, which explains the popularity of this type of cooking. For example, fire roasting works well with vegetables, which helps expand the repertoire of vegetarian and vegan menus. This cooking method adds a depth of flavor that traditional roasting, baking or boiling cannot achieve, according to St. Charles, Ill.-based Global Food Forums.

Outfitting external bars requires planning with an eye toward the elements when selecting materials and equipment.

Bakery cafes earn high marks from consumers for keeping pace with industry trends, including a focus on high quality and healthy menu items. In addition to baked goods, such as breads, cakes and pastries, these operations offer meals like sandwiches, soup and salads.

The impact of COVID-19 will result in significant declines in foodservice sales for 2020. While restaurant operators shift focus to exclusively off-premises service to help soften the blow, expect the overall sales decline to be deep and potentially unprecedented.

You could argue that it’s the most important station in any kitchen, but the expediting station is often given the least consideration. Every single meal in any restaurant or foodservice operation flows through here, increasing the importance that the station be placed correctly, remain organized and include an ergonomic design.

An attractive, well-functioning front of the house can serve as a major draw for customers.

The word “disruptive” has become one of the most overused terms of the last 10 years, but it’s no overstatement to say that in a relatively short time, third-party delivery services have disrupted the way restaurants do business. Grubhub started delivering to consumers in 2004; DoorDash and Uber Eats are both just about six years old. Yet these and other third-party delivery services have revolutionized the way restaurants deal with their customers — and, conversely, have changed the way customers perceive the concept of dining out (and dining in).

The speed, scope and ramifications of coronavirus-driven societal and industry changes are stunning. Unlike during the economic recession of 2008, when the fast-casual segment rose to prominence and QSRs upped their game as budget-conscious customers traded down, this global health pandemic leaves few seats for winners at the table. 

Whether it serves as an ingredient in a dish or flavor for a beverage, acai berries, pitaya (dragon fruit), guava and other fruits are adding nutrients, as well as unique flavor profiles, to today’s restaurant menus. Jackfruit has even entered the plant-based realm as a substitute for pulled pork.

Restaurant chains Beef 'O' Brady's and Taziki’s may operate in different industry segments but like a growing number of chains they have adapted their product mix for the time being to include groceries.

Quick-service restaurant chain Popeyes couldn’t have predicted the mayhem when it introduced its chicken sandwich last August. Consumers were desperate to get their hands on the coveted item, which sold out in just two weeks. The same situation occurred when the sandwich was again offered four months later. It even inspired a skit on “Saturday Night Live” — publicity that can’t be bought.