Have your restaurant’s sales gone stale? Do you think it’s time to revamp your restaurant’s menu? That’s a big task, and may include changing everything from your suppliers to your restaurant billing software.
If you are going to reboot your menu, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons, and the right way. Make sure you’re tapping into something that people actually want.
Here are a few trends from Restaurant.org’s survey of over 1,500 restauranteurs that you may want to be aware of.
People Want Local
The top 5 trends in the world of restaurants are:
1 Locally sourced meats and seafood
2 Chef-driven fast-casual concepts
3 Locally grown produce
4 Hyper-local sourcing
5 Natural ingredients/minimally processed food
Notice a pattern there? People want real food and want to know it didn’t travel far to get to their plate. People have never been more aware of cognizant of what we’re putting in our bodies.
Their Facebook and Instagram feeds are lighting up with daily horror stories about the dangers of processed food. So you would be wise to tap into this and tell the whole world how locally-focused you (now) are.
People Want Healthy
As you saw above, people want clean food for themselves, but they also want it for their kids.
“Healthful kids’ meals” was the 7th biggest trend on the list, as people are now reading labels and watching everything they give their kids at home, and expect the same level of thoughtfulness when they go out to eat.
Some of the biggest trends in kids’ menus today include:
- Fruit/vegetable kids’ side items
- Whole grain items in kids’ meals
- Kids’ entree salads
- Gourmet items in kids’ meals
People Like Spicy
Sriracha and chipotle sauces have invaded people’s homes and are now permanent fixtures of the fridge. People really seem to crave spicy food more than ever and the average palate can take more heat.
Kick things up a little bit and tap into the culinary thrill seeker. Some people see the heat warning on the menu as a challenge they must defeat.
People Want Interesting Drinks
You’ve probably already noticed the explosion in popularity of artisan and craft brewing beer companies. There are currently 5005 craft brewers in the US. People want to try interesting new beers, and very much want to talk about it in real life and in social media. So, you might want to partner with a local brewery.
Also, house-recommended food-beer pairings are growing in popularity. So take a local beer (or two) and create a meal to complement it, with your own signature pairing.
Also, we’ve seen an absolute explosion in rum sales over the last decade, particularly when it comes to high-end spiced rum.
So be sure to offer a selection of rum-based drinks like the mojito or dark and stormy. Take it a step further and offer it with locally made or artisan soft drinks. People would love to try a rum and local root beer, for a change.
These are a few suggestions on how you can capitalize on current trends. However, remember, you don’t need to jump on every single culinary bandwagon that gallops by.
Take what makes sense for your business and let the rest pass you by.