Popular Menu Modifications

One of the best ways for a restaurant to keep customers interested and intrigued is to keep the menu up to date with the latest trending foods. This year, exciting new ideas are showing up across the country, and consumers are generally eager to try the many interesting offerings.

From huge, quick service chains to single location restaurants, chefs and managers are introducing unique flavors and ingredients in order to remain on the cusp of new developments in dining. Essentially, restaurants are trying to get away from “safer” flavor combinations and introduce bold new ideas to their patrons.

Fantastic Flavors

A very popular trend that costumers will probably see at most eating establishments is the use of more specialty ingredients. This is especially noticeable in many quick service chains. They are using more quality cuts of meat as well as specialty breads. The new combinations found in some of the quick service restaurants seem to mirror dishes that would normally only be found in higher-end restaurants. Also, an increase in the use of pork belly, steak tartar, and even wild salmon has been seen on menus across the country.

Another way that some restaurants are spicing up their menus is to incorporate more ethnic flavors into their usual fare. While at one time patrons had to choose a specific type of restaurant to find the ethnic flavors they were looking for, they can now often find those flavors in other unexpected places.

For some this means using a creative salsa to add some Latin flair to their signature burger, or some Asian ingredients to brighten a chicken salad. For others, it means adding traditional ethnic dishes to their menu, like the Vietnamese bahn mi sandwich that is showing up in many different restaurants, or the very versatile Greek yogurt sauce, tzatziki.

Healthy Options are Trendy

In recent years, restaurants have begun to see the value of offering more healthy options on their menus. However, because consumers continue to become increasingly health conscious, restaurants must keep up with the changing trends in healthy lifestyles. Having a few salads on the menu with “low fat” dressing will no longer suffice. Health conscious diners want to see all natural ingredients, plenty of whole grains, and smaller portions.

Often, a desire for healthier options goes hand-in-hand with an interest in sustainability. For consumers, this includes actively seeking out foods in grocery stores and restaurants that are locally grown, or at least contain ingredients that are. These consumers are excited and grateful to see it when chefs and restaurant owners share their concern.

To present guests with healthy options and new exciting flavors, some restaurants are experimenting with vegetables that are not the norm for most menus. Broccoli, spinach, and carrots have been common fare in restaurants for many years, though the cooking styles may have changed. Now, many chefs are experimenting with different greens, like kale and mustard greens. Kale became popular as a substitute in Caesar salad last year, but is making its way into other dishes as well. Other trendy veggies this year are Brussels sprouts, celery root, and even roasted beets.

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