Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rosalyn Darling
February 13, 2023

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Afternoon hours hold big opportunity in foodservice, as many consumers are now looking for something extra special to entice them out of their home offices and away from their over-programmed schedules. Premium offerings that invite indulgence or elevate get-togethers can increase menu appeal. From a use-of-space standpoint, leveraging these shoulder hours as a pop-up co-working space can drive traffic. Offering free wi-fi and a simplified snacks menu from early afternoon up until dinner service can satisfy both the need for the afternoon work meeting to the early happy hour.

Three ideas for menu execution of this trend:

  1. Afternoon Coffee’s New BFF: Doughnut holes filled with maple bacon hazelnut butter
  2. Brunch-Defying Happy Hour Appetizer: Nachos Benedict with chipotle hollandaise, chopped bacon, crispy jalapeños
  3. Sangria Maria (Bloody Mary’s Happy Hour Cousin): Red wine sangria garnished with a seasonal fruit skewer and whimsical cake pop



About The Author

Rosalyn Darling

ROSALYN DARLING specializes in insights-based culinary innovation that spans across away-from-home and retail channels. Plant-forward foods, reducetarian culture and alternative mixology have been her current areas of focus in the kitchen, working with both Fortune 500 CPGs and top 200 foodservice operators to bring this sprouting trend to shelves and menus across the nation. A taste of what Rosalyn has experienced during her dynamic career as a hybrid of marketing and culinary innovation includes: Strategic Consulting Partner with The Culinary Institute of America, Culinary Instructor for Premier Culinary Clinics, Speaker at National Restaurant Association’s Foodamentals Studio & Culinary Experience Center, Master Trainer for dairy-free beverage mixology at N.Y. and L.A. Coffee Festivals, and Flavor & The Menu Culinary Roundtable Presenter and Panelist. Rosalyn holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Management and Entrepreneurship from the University of Illinois Chicago and a culinary degree from the International Culinary School at the Illinois Institute of Art Chicago.