Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Publisher’s Page Mar-Apr 2018 Welcome to the March-April 2018 issue from Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Cathy Nash Holley

The entrée could be seen as an embodiment of the restaurant industry. The casualization of cuisine over the last decade has eroded its clearly defined boundaries. Today, it’s often a loose interpretation of what it once was, having lost its ability to tell a good story amid all the buzz and enthusiasm of other segments of the menu.

In Katie Ayoub’s article “The Main Event”, she explores the current approach menu developers are taking to deliver on an entrée that meets the consumer’s changing demands. No longer can an entrée rest on its laurels and remain the star of the menu unchallenged. Bowl builds, shareables and the vast offerings of small plates, bar bites and elevated sides have addressed consumers’ desire for greater control over flavor and portion, and put main-course menu innovation on the front burner. The bar has been set high for the modern entrée.

The chefs interviewed here are incorporating strategic approaches to entrée development, all driven by flavor. CraftWorks’ Stan Frankenthaler sums it up well: “Modern development of the entrée is around appeal and purchase intent, and knowing your guests and capturing new visitors. The lead for this is big flavor.” Changing value propositions are forcing a tightened focus on all aspects of the main dish—layered flavor development and attention to detail of flavor and texture across the plate, more interesting combinations of grains and produce, calling out premium attributes of the protein component—basically, building the elements that help your entrée tell a better flavor story.

This issue is chock-full of flavor stories, from Gerry Ludwig’s semi-annual roundup of street-level trends(hint: breakfast still represents big opportunities) to Laura Brienza’s report on nonalcoholic beverage trends, where a bell-pepper lemonade and cream-cheese tea tell a compelling story. And in this business, the best story wins.

Cathy Nash Holley

  From the Mar/Apr 2018 issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.


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About The Author


Cathy Nash Holley has been Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Flavor & The Menu since the magazine began nearly 20 years ago. With its annual Top 10 Trends issue, Flavor & The Menu is a valuable resource for the foodservice industry, serving as a source of flavor and menu trends, strategies and innovation. In addition to overseeing the media brand, Cathy also serves as President of The Flavor Experience, an annual foodservice conference held each August, and is past-president of the International Foodservice Editorial Council. A native of the west coast, she resides in Maine with her husband and twin 18-year olds.