CHICAGO—Simplicity and diversifying markets dominated the 2015 trend report released Nov. 10 by Technomic Inc.
According to the Chicago-based research and consulting firm, Canadian operators will focus on the following food and restaurant trends in the coming year:
Menu boards slim down
According to Technomic, consumers want variety and customization when dining out, but also favour a simplified, stress-free dining experience. As a result, a growing number of restaurants will offer minimalist menu listings, streamlining overloaded kitchen lines and editing menu boards to focus on a handful of well-executed dishes.
Operators face challenges catering to the distinctly different preferences of Millennials and Baby Boomers, both of whom possess significant spending power yet search out different dining experiences. To please both demographic groups, restaurants will address Boomers’ health and wellness needs while increasing social responsibility initiatives to attract Millennials.
Balancing a compelling value proposition for Boomers with authenticity and customizability for Millennials will also help foodservice operators address the needs of all age groups.
Consumers have sampled modern dining halls, pop-ups and food trucks as part of a shift away from traditional restaurant formats. Retailers are the next foodservice frontier. As today’s supermarkets and convenience stores boost their fresh prepared food offerings, restaurants face a new competitive challenge from an emerging segment poised for growth.
Tea culture comes of age
Tea is having its moment as operators devise unique, connoisseur-level tea experiences such as precise tea-brewing practices, tea-and-food pairings and handcrafted flavours. Menus will offer an increased variety of specialty, premium tea blends.
Emerging craft beers
The focus in 2015 will shift to emerging craft-beer styles, serving ideas and kitchen uses. Hoppy brews will continue to dominate, but drink menus will offer more sours, saisons, spiced-up stouts and lower-alcohol, sessionable brews. Bars and restaurants will create excitement via tap takeovers, creative beer flights and cask events. Beer’s burgeoning culinary influence will result in more sudsy desserts, infused sauces and pairing suggestions.
Andrew Freeman & Co.
Adding its predictions to the mix, Andrew Freeman & Co., a San Francisco-based hospitality consulting company, released its 2015 U.S. food and restaurant trend report in early November. Highlights include:
The new ‘it’ egg is scrambled—and it’s going way beyond breakfast. Scrambled eggs are what’s for dinner.
Chefs are adding flair to veggies with old-world cooking techniques such as smoking and slow roasting instead of relying on fats to boost flavour.
Nduja, a Calabrian spreadable cured meat, features a softer, malleable texture that makes it a more flexible ingredient than other salami.
Dessert menus are featuring soft-serve ice cream. Seasonal flavours, innovative sundae combinations and sophisticated toppings make this nostalgic item more modern.
Diners are having a love affair with the cuisine of Spain as traditional and modern Spanish concepts open all over the U.S.
Savory pancakes are showing up on dinner menus, and chefs are proving batter is a versatile canvas for non-traditional flavours.
Game halls are the next big thing. Adding an interactive gaming element to a bar keeps people drinking and makes these establishments a destination instead of a stop along the way.
Not many people have time for a leisurely lunch anymore and restaurants are adapting by offering all-day, takeout-friendly menus and providing delivery.
A growing number of higher-end, fast casual concepts (many helmed by fine dining chefs) are emerging to satisfy the demand for great food, fast, at lower prices. No longer just for the lunch crowd, these concepts are thriving during the dinner rush.
The division between the pastry line and the rest of the kitchen is fading.
Sunday suppers are becoming a time for adventurous cooking. By offering one set menu (often family style), chefs can tackle more ambitious or complex dishes or experiment with new techniques or cuisines.