Hottest Restaurant Trends for 2017
Foodies and the dedicated service workers who keep them fed are always on the lookout for the hottest new restaurant trend, and 2017 is shaping up to be an innovative year. Once you get through the Christmas rush, you may want to start experimenting with your menu and look to some other masters of the kitchen for a fresh approach.
What new trends will this new year usher in to keep mouths watering and the food industry exciting? The answers are more vegetables, but also meat and healthier dining options. The new year promises to be different, daring, and very delicious.
At long last, it is the year of the S’more. Several famous restaurants such as L’Oca d’Oro in Austin, Texas are offering s’more style foods, such as the s’mores tartuffo, to sugar-loving customers.
S’mores are also getting the recognition they deserve beyond restaurants and in artisanal kits. The next time you or your lady friend are in an Anthropologie, check out the s’mores kit and be sure to cook up your own at home.
Want to add s’mores to your menu? Several torches on the market will make toasting a marshmallow easy and fast. Your customers will drool at the sight of the perfectly melted, gooey marshmallow balanced out by chocolate and graham crackers in whatever gorgeous concoction you create.
With awareness of the environment and the impact of mass farming, many consumers are searching for farm-to-table vegetarian food options. According to Pinterest, searches for the word veggies increased by over 300 percent in recent months.
Also, the market for fake meats is on the rise, including the Beyond Burger which looks and tastes like ground beef and even appears to bleed, thanks to a little beet juice. This popular burger stores well, keeps the Earth a little greener, and receives rave reviews for the taste.
Current restaurant goers are also looking for more cauliflower, broccoli, and zucchini in place of carbohydrate-heavy dishes such as lasagna, mashes, and pizza crusts. You’ve probably already tried zoodles, the noodles made by spiral-cutting zucchini, or even mashed cauliflower, but more is on the horizon.
Make sure your food processor has a powerful motor so you can keep the cauliflower rice, the zucchini crust pizza, and the shredded broccoli coming. The vegetarian customers will be thrilled, and the meat-eaters will appreciate the diversity, and the genius, in your menu.
Many restaurants are moving away from the traditional, white plate to a simple, elegant bowl for their food presentations. Why bowls? Smoothies are one reason; the traditional drink has become a chunkier, thicker concoction with chia seeds, granola and sliced fruit on top. This shift made consumers begin to look at a bowl presentation for other dishes, such as sushi, leading to the deconstructed sushi bowl and Poké, another seafood bowl that hails from Hawaii.
Why do customers like bowls? There are a few reasons. Holding a bowl brings more mindfulness and awareness to the act of eating, making the consumer feel full faster. Also, the flavors blend together, as opposed to separately staying apart.
If you’re looking for inspiration, there are all kinds of breakfast and lunch bowls being created that feature food and styles from all over the world. Add a few bowls to your offerings and watch your regulars smile at the sight of a Chocolate Hazelnut Smoothie Bowl or a Green Rice and Spiced Sweet Potato Bowl appearing on their table.
Sure, we all love kale, and we know why we should eat it, but what about all those greens that come on top of our other veggies? Carrot greens, beet chard, and turnip greens are all getting a second look from chefs around the country who don’t want to waste what could be the next big thing on their menu.
Before throwing out that next big bunch of carrot greens, consider giving them a rough chop, a quick steam, and throwing them on a plate with a variety of seasonings. The foodies in your crowd will love your originality and talent, not to mention the taste of a new, exciting green.
New Breakfast Foods
Customers aren’t as excited as they used to be for servings of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, or syrup-drenched pancakes. Rather, many customers are looking for a bit more crunch in the morning. Crispy bits of sausage, hard, chewy granola and even fried chicken are what a lot of breakfast-lovers are reaching for these mornings for a protein-packed start to their day.
The other breakfast trend? The decision to offer it all day. With the gig economy on the rise and the typical 9-to-5 schedule fading, be ready for customers expecting a plate of breakfast offerings late in the afternoon or even in the middle of the night.
Most major corporate chains have already caught on and have eliminated their breakfast hours, and smart, independent restaurants are following suit. Consider making your morning offerings available all day and serve those who were up all night designing or just partying.
This is something very new, but be ready for it to become the norm within the next couple of years. Walk to Times Square, and you may see the breakfast restaurant that specializes in only offering bowls of famous sugar-coated cereals. The over-presentation of things like milk and a branded box give a whole twist to these old favorites, and other brands are following suit.
Moleskine, the journal and notebook company, has joined forces with a coffee company to create a combination bookstore, art gallery, and cafe so customers can buy a book and then sit down and begin jotting down notes while enjoying their favorite brew.
A major brand of soda has made a similar move, with the Kola cafe in New York. If you’re new to the food business and want to get in on the corporate approach to food, a branded cafe may just be the way to go.
Ready to start the next trend yourself? All you need is a new attitude and a fresh perspective toward the food you prepare and offer. Maybe you’ll create the next, mind-blowing gluten-free pastry or a cauliflower steak that even the staunchest vegetarian can eat. Whatever you make and however you make it, have a great year and enjoy yourself in your kitchen. If you’re having fun, your staff and customers will love spending time at your place.
Rich Lansdale has been in the restaurant industry for two decades helping run his family’s restaurants in Washington, D.C. He writes about his experiences in an effort to help those just starting out and those struggling to make it. One of his favorite things to do is host a dinner party for friends and family.