Trends

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

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As one reads the trade press and listens to restaurant industry pundits, the most common theme discussed over the past few years has been the call for restaurants to implement more and better technology into their operations.

As ethnic fare continues on a strong trajectory, the popularity of West African cuisine across the U.S. grows. The National Restaurant Association placed West African cuisine/flavors second in its global flavors ranking in its What’s Hot 2019 culinary forecast. These foods appeal to those seeking traditional dishes of the region made with authentic, spicy and healthy ingredients, some more familiar than others.

In a small but growing number of beer-centric operations, there’s no longer anything standing between the customer and a cold one — no server to wait for, no angling to get a bartender’s attention. Customers simply walk up and tap their own, free and empowered via technology to control their beer-loving destinies.

How about some ginger pork dumplings or Korean short rib baos with your dart game? Table tennis and grilled chicken thigh kebabs, anyone? Or maybe it’s some wine and pasta while viewing the latest blockbuster — or a local craft beer and smoked brisket sandwich at the ballgame?

Some kitchen equipment service calls just can’t be avoided. A thermometer goes out, a component reaches the end of its lifecycle, moving parts need deep cleaning and lubrication. There’s nothing an operator can do about these.

While chef bases don’t grab your attention like a chargrill or fryer, they play a key role in food production in many kitchens. Points of failure on these units include standard refrigeration components to drawers and doors. Here are some tips to keeping these pieces up and running.

Foodservice professionals from all industry segments continue to look toward the future to try to understand what their businesses might look like in five or even ten years. One good way to understand what might be coming down the road is to examine key trends of the day and how they connect to your business. This includes understanding the impact these trends will have on foodservice design and equipment use.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. They could say the same thing about the road to unnecessary, expensive service calls. The reason: When foodservice operators clean and perform light servicing of their kitchen equipment, they can sometimes make mistakes that force a service agent to undo those efforts.

A bar’s seating is as important to the overall brand as the menu, music and service. Consider the fabric, frame material, size of seat, upholstery, weight and color as the seating sets the stage for the dining experience.

One of the less obvious but no less important aspects of a commercial bar is the bar top. It is what customers come into direct contact with, may remain at for long periods and impacts their interaction with staff. In other words, it is a big part of the overall experience at an establishment.

How would you design a kitchen knowing  that customers will never see it?

Whether you’re a designer, a MAS consultant or both, maintaining creativity, and oftentimes, going beyond the status quo remains crucial for maintaining relevancy, competitiveness and success. So is looking for inspiration beyond your normal sources.

No longer relegated to Spanish-style fare, small plates have become ubiquitous on menus across a variety of foodservice segments. Chefs can experiment and be creative, while diners appreciate a lower-cost sampling opportunity.

Consumers continue to show a growing appetite for online and mobile ordering options in the restaurant industry and beyond. In fact, food purchased for off-premises consumption now accounts for 60 percent of all restaurant occasions, according to data from the National Restaurant Association.

Once upon a time and not so long ago, hungry vegans had to avoid mainstream restaurants, cobble together meals of sides and salads, and/or feel like pariahs for requesting their orders not only be meat-free but also be prepared without butter, eggs, cream, cheese, meat stock and other animal-derived staples. Relegated to fringe status and misunderstood or simply ignored, they were rare enough to warrant scant attention from chefs and menu developers focused on the meat-eating masses.

The only constant is change.

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