Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
April 30, 2020

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Many restaurants have shifted their business acumen into new territory, determining how best to adjust menu items to make them delivery/curbside friendly with no trade down of experience. Mandates may have closed dining rooms, but the ingenuity of operators lives on. We are a service industry after all and hospitality is part of our DNA.

As many operators in all segments are now doing base versions of meal kits using existing menu items, we’ve pulled together a list of thought starters, breaking them into different categories, hoping to spark creativity. These can be either fully prepared by the restaurant, with instructions on how the guest simply reheats or plates, or as portioned items ready to be prepared (to some extent) at home. Operators can find a mix that works best for them and their guests.


Blinner: Sun-dried tomato/bacon/cheese frittata + fingerling potato hash + fresh fruit medley

DIY B&B Sandwiches: Buttermilk biscuits and assorted bagels + fresh whole eggs + chicken sausage patties + smoked bacon + grated gourmet cheese + assorted spreads

Pink Pancakes & Bellini: Prepared beet/berry pancake batter + fresh berries + whipped honey mascarpone + bellini ingredients (bottle of prosecco + blood orange purée + blood orange slices)


FOMO Bowl: Brown basmati rice/red quinoa + sweet chile-glazed broccolini + grilled peaches + micro greens + walnut relish

Eastern Med Bowl: Mixed greens + falafel + seared halloumi + dried apricots + charred vegetables+ harissa-date dressing

Rising Sun Bowl: Chilled marinated soba noodles + sweet potato zoodles + kelp kimchi + sesame wafers + yuzu marmalade


Summer Trio: Chilled strawberry bisque + mesclun salad with choice of dressings + assorted club sandwiches

Goddess Trio: Chilled avocado soup + wedge salad with choice of dressings + antipasti sliders

Classic Trio: Warm roasted yellow tomato soup + Greek chopped salad + gourmet grilled cheese (ready to assemble and grill)


Gaucho Tacos: Smoked tri-tip + grated jack cheese + chimichurri + white corn and flour tortillas

Yum Yum Tacos: Caramel miso mahi mahi + shredded creamy cabbage + tomatillo-kiwi-habanero salsa + white corn and flour tortillas

Bollywood Tacos: Butter chicken + grated paneer + sliced scallion + small naan rounds


Pub Bites: Barbecue riblets + baked mac and cheese bites + soft pretzel sticks + beer queso + mini smoked sausage corn dogs + spiced ketchup

Garden Bites: Broccoli/cheddar tots + crispy Buffalo cauliflower florets + veg satay skewers + assorted dips

Crostini Crunch: Ciabatta crostini + array of whipped cheeses, marinated beans, smashed vegetables, roasted fruits, pesto and tapenade


DIY Signatures: Rotation of a cocktail/mocktail of the week (alcohol and all the fixings)

DIY Michelada: Negra Modelo beer (bottles) + housemade michelada mix + chile salt + lime wedges

The Elixir: Selection of quart-size cold-pressed juice/vegetable/nut-seed milk blends

All-Day Sips: Gallon-size flavored iced tea/lemonade + fresh mint + lemon wedges

About The Author

Rob Corliss

Rob Corliss is a three-time James Beard House guest chef with more than 30 years of experience that includes running world-class hotels, launching new concepts, working in top marketing agencies and owning the culinary consultancy ATE (All Things Epicurean) since 2009. Based in Nixa, Mo., ATE has an energizing passion focused on flavor innovation and is dedicated to connecting people to their food, environment and wellness. Rob is also a regular contributor to Flavor & The Menu.