Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Rob Corliss
November 1, 2021

These quickfire tactics home in on three quick-serve classics. The goal is to combine operational ease while delivering a trend-forward, singular flavor experience to the guest.

1 The Burger

Elevate with house-blended sauces, spreads or condiments:
Barbecue chile crisp, smoked onion marmalade, miso hot mustard, pork rind aïoli, habanero ketchup

Menu example:

The Big Chuck: Half-pound signature prime-blend beef patty topped with fondue cheese, caramelized onions, arugula, tomato, truffle aïoli and steak sauce
—Hopdoddy, based in Austin, Texas

2 The Breakfast Sandwich

Elevate with limited-edition flavors to pique consumer interest:
Breakfast sausage patty with fried egg, cheddar, apple butter, maple-orange marmalade on a sourdough biscuit

Menu example:

New School: Bacon, scrambled eggs, miso-tahini kale, hot sauce on a seeded hero
—Southside Coffee, New York

3 The Fried Chicken Sandwich

Elevate with flavorful introductions in the marinade, breading, sauce/spread or topping:
Habanero buttermilk-brined, sweet tea-brined; spiced fruit powders in the breading or tossed on the fried chicken; hot sauce-pepper jelly or jalapeño-tomato jam

Menu example:

Nash-ty: Nashville-style hot halal buttermilk-fried chicken tossed in housemade hot sauce topped with spiced sour cream ranch served on a buttery brioche bun
—Invasion, Dallas

About The Author

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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. [email protected]