Trends

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

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 Flexibility in menu construction and equipment use has become the name of the game for today’s kitchens, and that will undoubtedly ring true for many years to come. But when designing kitchens that can withstand the tests of time, allowing for lean foot prints, sustainable foodservice practices and the needs of a changing consumer demographic will be equally important.

With an equipment-wide update to Energy Star qualifications coming down the pipe early next year, the Food Service Technology Center has been actively working on developing specifications for commercial water heaters, a new venture for the industry and for the FSTC.

With consumers' maintaining healthy appetites for Mexican-inspired cuisine, fast-casual and quick-service operators continue to enhance their menus and expand their network of locations.

In an effort to reduce the massive amount of energy used to heat water, The Cheesecake Factory enlisted the help of Sun Light & Power, a Berkeley, Calif.-based firm that designs and builds solar panels for companies, to install the light-catching units on its rooftop.

Four years ago, the University of Texas (UT) at Austin embarked on a complete renovation project of its dining facilities and kitchens. The fourth and final phase, completed last year at Jester Second Floor Dining Room, helped seal the deal on the university's plans to create a more sustainable dining and meal preparation environment for students, faculty and staff.

In an attempt to retain existing members and lure new customers, country clubs continue to enhance their food-focused programming.

A testament to TacoTime's success is the longevity of its franchisees, many of whom have been in business for 30 to 40 years.

What sets country club foodservice operations apart from traditional restaurants is their need to be multifunctional. While fine dining operations are fixtures at most country clubs, many clubs also offer foodservice in the form of snack bars by the pool and golf course, casual restaurants for quick bites and catering capabilities for special events.

When John Kunkel came up with the concept for Lime Fresh Mexican Grill in 2005, his goal was to create a fast-casual eatery that reflected the vibrancy and food-conscious culture of Miami's South Beach.

The PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is about as elaborate a country club as one can find. Located on 3,000 acres, the resort includes five championship golf courses, 19 tennis courts, a 33,000-square-foot health and racquet club and a 39,000-square-foot spa. The main resort features 339 guest rooms as well as 40 cottages. Condos and single-family homes on the property house 5,000 residents.

Menu labeling and insurance mandates loom large for the foodservice industry.

Trends come and go. That's why they're called trends. But some stick around for longer periods of time, having greater impact on the foodservice industry. We've identified some of those stronger trends that picked up steam in 2012 and seem to be headed for greater impact in 2013. Take a look.

With the real estate costs remaining a concern, many foodservice operators continue to explore smaller, more compact kitchen designs that leverage the energy-efficient nature of induction, rapid cook ovens and other ventless technologies.

The end of the year can be an incredibly busy and lucrative period for foodservice operations. Holiday shopping means more people are out and about, making them more likely to stop at a restaurant for a meal or snack. Family get-togethers also equal more meals out.

What made foodservice design consultants successful yesterday does not necessarily guarantee them a place at the table today or tomorrow. No other members of the foodservice supply chain have had to evolve their business practices more in order to remain relevant. From forming partnerships to expanding their knowledge base to occasionally walking away from business, foodservice design consultants continue to roll with the changes.

Some tips on maintenance from CFESA.