Chefs are staging a coup, toppling the reign of tender greens and bringing back the crunch. Driven by a more intentional approach to salad-building, romaine and iceberg are getting called up, tucking craveability and, yes, innovation, among their crisp leaves.
Thanks to the proliferation of ramen bowls, along with the new izakaya wave, chefs are discovering the flavors of comfort-forward Japanese ingredients and dishes, like karaage, katsu and okonomiyaki, promising craveable, memorable experiences.
Small potatoes are making big moves and showing off their skills as a shareable, sociable innovation platform. Minis, marbles, fingerlings—all respond beautifully to flavor techniques like roasting, blistering, smoking and smashing.
Old-fashioned comfort meets modern flavor innovation in today’s forward-thinking skillet preparations. Rustic and earnest, skillets today host bubbling pasta dishes, shareable dips and caramelized mini platters of veg-centric bar bites.
Mindful On A Mission Being thoughtful and intentional in all aspects of menu development makes a big impact
This overarching trend speaks to a menu strategy that appeals to today’s modern diners. Thoughtfulness of intent, transparency in sourcing and a mindfulness around flavor-building all give this trend long legs.
Propelled by the interest in plant-based proteins, the veg-centric trend and Middle Eastern fare, the chickpea is stealing the spotlight. From bar bites of roasted chickpeas to the next wave of hummus and the explosion of falafel, they promise wholesome adventure.
This trend sees seafood boldly stepping out of its traditional confines and embracing big flavor combinations and casual presentations. Chefs are menuing seafood in thrilling ways, underpinning the dishes with an approachable, but meaningful message of sustainability.
Guajillo Gains Ground This chile offers the combination that modern diners seek: complex heat with global flair
Chile varietals are always on trend, giving diners the heat and excitement they yearn for. Guajillo is capturing chefs’ attention because of its depth of character, offering flavorful heat plus a cool regional Mexican hook.
With the growing interest in soda alternatives plus innovation in the cocktail space, creative non-alcoholic offerings are vying for menu space. Fast casuals are leading the way with fresh-pressed juices; hand-crafted sodas; flavor-forward lemonades and iced teas; iced coffees and more.
Next-Gen Nachos An “anything goes” approach fuels innovation in this fan favorite
America’s favorite shareable is getting a serious makeover from chefs who are mindfully constructing layers of textures and flavors. Speaking to modern flavor trends, today’s nachos extend a restaurant brand’s playfulness and creativity while delivering big time on craveability.
Incorporating unusual ingredients and combinations
Rethink your salad menu strategy. Go with two to three core salads on your menu that have longevity year-round, then implement a robust salad LTO cycle that features a new seasonal salad offering every two months.
A dozen ways to leverage the fresh zing of citrus across the menu
Cheesecake offers a rich canvas for fun, modern flavor innovation
An interesting progression emerges in cocktail trends
Savvy menu-makers are front-loading menus with produce-driven bar bites, appetizers and small plates that entice diners
Trend Watch Leverage the insights and data that commodity boards offer up for strategic menu development
Leverage the insights and data that commodity boards offer up for strategic menu development
Global protein treatments with on-trend opportunity and complex, craveable flavor
Spreading the excitement well beyond Lent, boosting sales and creating new dining preferences all year long
Menu Trends In Modern Campus Dining Forward-thinking culinary directors are pioneering new landscape and impacting the mindset, sophistication and expectation of younger consumers
Forward-thinking culinary directors are pioneering new landscape and impacting the mindset, sophistication and expectation of younger consumers
It's an art where all five senses take place as one
New Trends Outside the Big Easy
The dramatic presentation combined with umami-laden truffles turns a baked potato into a flavor knockout.
A new take on eggs Benedict, with salmon and crisp fried potato leek cakes.
Maximize the rich, craveable flavor system of French onion soup with a whole baked potato.
Who says a Shepherd's Pie has to be a pie? Why not a savory tart instead.
Achieving a remarkable flavor experience
On-trend menu builds that stand out with rich flavor stories
Flavor-First Approach When we strip every conversation away from our food experiences, it all comes down to Flavor.
When we strip every conversation away from our food experiences, it all comes down to Flavor.
What is Flavor? Flavor: an indication of the essential character of something
Flavor: an indication of the essential character of something
Follow our new weekly column for unique perspectives on flavor
Making Protein Count The shifting plate makeup is putting a renewed emphasis on quality protein with flavor at the forefront
The shifting plate makeup is putting a renewed emphasis on quality protein with flavor at the forefront
Extend the flavor stories behind some of the most craveable and successful profiles today
The Banh Mi Effect The success of the banh mi has demonstrated the importance of high-impact produce in sandwiches
The success of the banh mi has demonstrated the importance of high-impact produce in sandwiches
Umami On Top Chefs are exploring the menu potential of furikake and togarashi, two high-impact finishes
Chefs are exploring the menu potential of furikake and togarashi, two high-impact finishes
Thanks to younger consumers—raised with single-varietal coffees, a rainbow of black, green, white and red tea shades, and curious about anything that smacks of the new—innovative methods, like cold-brew have found little customer resistance.
Newer menu development around seafood is edgier, more global, and often sees bolder flavor combinations.
Generic tomato soup and clam chowder will probably never go away, but creative innovation can help elevate soups to signature. Here are 10 upgrades, from creative garnishes to edgy, global mash-ups, that could give chicken noodle a run for your profits.
This paella with shirred eggs is an example of how dinner dishes are showing up at breakfast and egg dishes are growing dramatically on dinner menus.