Trends

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

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Pent-up demand has consumers now looking for more upscale and/or unique experiences when hosting events.

Just like FBI agents follow the money when cracking a case, commercial kitchen designers follow the food when designing a space. Designers’ tracking of the workflow starts as far back as the loading dock, where they trace the food being received and follow the ingredients as staff prep, cook and serve the menu items in the front of the house.

Flexible design, a rethinking of service flow and multiuse equipment are all making headway in school foodservice programs.

There’s probably nothing more American than a good old-fashioned hamburger (although, admittedly, hot dog makers might disagree). They appear on 51% of menus, according to Mike Kostyo, trendologist for research firm Datassential. That makes them the sixth most common entree option on menus. And few other menu items match their popularity: 85% of customers say they like or love burgers, according to Datassential research.

Beth Wallace, the current president of the School Nutrition Association, and director of Food and Nutrition Services at Jefferson County School District in Lakewood, Colo., oversees 138 full-service kitchens for the district. The district serves an average of 10,000 breakfasts per day and 33,000 lunches.

From labor shortages to supply chain challenges to the need to innovate faster than ever, there’s no shortage of issues confronting today’s foodservice industry. A collection of foodservice designers and management advisory services consultants share their thoughts and perspectives on a variety of topics the industry faces.

As workers make their way back to offices, foodservice consultants in that space have been tasked to determine how to design and reconfigure serveries for what’s beginning to look like a hybrid remote/in-person setup.

Chuck Schuler, MAS project manager, Cini•Little International Inc., suggests these four approaches to improving workflow:

Supply chain issues have made repairing old equipment and purchasing new units harder than ever. Understandably, some operators must now consider purchasing new equipment from manufacturers that are new to them and, in some cases, they may have never even heard of these companies before. Often this equipment is far cheaper than the known factories.

Marleen St. Marie, design project manager, Cini•Little International Inc., shares five ways to improve kitchen workspaces:

Sometimes in life knowing what you don’t want to do can be just as important in shaping a career as having a clear vision for what path you might want to follow. Take, for example, Daniel Cornell, service manager for Coastline Cooling, a Florida-based company that services refrigeration, ice machines and other cold-side commercial foodservice equipment. Early on Cornell realized “sitting behind a desk was never my thing,” he recalls.

Food trucks have become a popular option for those wanting to test a concept before making a bigger investment in a brick-and-mortar operation. And the benefits of being mobile are not just financial. Operators can try out different locations first. Menu experimentation is easier. Labor requirements are minimal, and supply issues can be more easily addressed.

Less expensive cuts of meat allow operators to adjust their menus to offset higher costs of goods.

The conversation about labor and space never seems to end. But, John Franke, founder/president of Franke Culinary Consulting LLC, based in Dallas, remains optimistic.

Juan Martinez, FCSI, principal and founder of Profitality Labor Guru, an industrial engineering consulting company, sees an advantage to applying industrial engineering-based principles to foodservice design.

Early learnings show staying power, shifting strategies