Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

By Cathy Nash Holley
March 3, 2020

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In light of the overwhelming challenges confronting the foodservice industry today, including the devastating impact on the industry’s workforce, we are reminded of the infinite value of the hospitality experience, and the importance of personal interaction in foodservice.

In our editorial coverage and presentations, we’ve discussed changing consumer values forcing adjustment in traditional foodservice settings, weighed the pros and cons of the takeout and delivery game, and interviewed menu development teams about their approaches to the “delivery dilemma.” Given the peril our industry is up against in the immediate future, it’s ironic that as a means of survival, all restaurant meals for at least the next couple of weeks must be served in takeout containers, and delivered to the customer with as little personal interaction as possible.

Just 10 days ago, it would have been inconceivable to think that takeout and delivery would be a salvation to the crisis we’re in. While we know that the margins here can’t sustain the industry for long, it’s a definite buffer to help offset the abrupt and drastic loss of revenue. We can only hope this is a short-lived situation, and that it’s not long before restaurant doors reopen.

In looking ahead, this unprecedented time does offer a silver lining. With our daily life so drastically confined, we are keen to details that before went unnoticed, and of course, long for those activities and interactions so easily taken for granted. Know that when we come out on the other side of this, there will be a fervent demand for the restaurant experience, and for foodservice hospitality. As consumers, we will look forward to the opportunity to gather around a table with friends, our spirits buoyed by the conviviality unique to a restaurant setting. We may see a reset in our value proposition that hopefully ensures we will never again take for granted the team members who make hospitality an imperative in foodservice. And there will be a newfound embrace and respect for takeout and delivery as part of the overall business plan.

We know that most of you and your team members are likely in the process of making very tough decisions right now. We want to recognize all of you coming together to provide solutions in this time of need. We’re inspired by the many good deeds taking place in our industry, including: mobilizing foodservice product excesses to feed those in need, offering video-conferencing sessions to share industry knowledge, and the sharing of valuable insights relating to the complex issues of employment and financing. Overall, we’re most inspired by the solidarity our industry is showing— the empathy for all segments and stations will serve us well on the rebound.

The Flavor family has always carried tremendous pride in our industry and in our readers. Today, that has deepened immeasurably. We remain by your side, and can only look to the future with great hope.

About The Author

Cathy Nash Holley

Cathy Nash Holley has been Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Flavor & The Menu since the magazine began over 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 is mom to twin college students.