All the Rage: Tailoring Your Menu for Emerging Food Trends

By ChowNowJun 16th, 2016

From avocado toast to kale-everything, the food industry boasts almost as many trends as fashion! While every restaurant should highlight their tried & true menu items that are loved by regulars, it’s important to incorporate some new foodie trends to attract a diverse customer base. Check out these simple yet impactful ways to keep your menu aligned with the emerging trends of the food industry.

1. Mocktini, Anyone?

While tried & true menu items are revenue-generators, it’s key to incorporate emerging food trends. Check out these tips on how to shake up your menu.

While most restaurants offer an alcohol-free version of their cocktail menu, take it one step further by dedicating a small section of your menu to “mocktails”. Offering creatively concocted and alcohol-free mocktails will show empathy and appreciation for the diverse needs of your customers. Check out these delicious mocktail recipes to get you inspired to create your own.

2. Give a Gluten-Free Version

In recent years, gluten-free has become almost as cliche as “fat-free” in the 90’s. Everyone is talking about it but many don’t seem to know why.  As a restaurant owner or manager, you may be weary or even downright opposed to hopping on the gluten-free bandwagon but there’s sufficient research available that supports incorporating gluten-free items into your menu. The important thing to remember is that you don’t need to turn into a zen-obsessed, green juice shop to accomplish this. Simply offering the gluten-free version of your best-sellers such as a pizza with gluten-free crust or gluten-free pasta is enough to accommodate those who have gluten allergies or celiac disease.

3. Take a New Craze & Make it Your Own

Let’s face it, fads in the food industry are unavoidable. From cronuts to juice cleanses, the masses tend to catch on to food trends quickly. With all the novelty food items that are emerging this year, why not join in and make it your own? Create your own version of the Hawaiian poke bowl or put a tasty spin on Halal food – whichever you choose, incorporating food trends can add diversity and refreshing flavor to your menu.

4. Veg Out

If there’s a trend that is likely to stick around  for a while, it’s veganism. As most vegans feel an ethical obligation to not consume any animal products, calling it a trend is almost an understatement. Restaurant owners are often misled to believe that vegan-friendly meals require special training and knowledge to prepare. However, it’s fairly simple to accommodate your vegan customers without having to transform into a full-on vegan restaurant. Include several menu items that are purely plant-based without any added dairy and your vegan customers are sure to be satisfied!

Bonus Tip: The Photo Op

SouffleSocial media channels like Instagram and Snapchat are proof that a picture truly is worth a thousand words – or in this case, a thousand likes. While this may read like a no-brainer to many, incorporating striking visuals to support your menu items is vital. Food is an art and nothing highlights your dishes quite like a great photograph. It’s also a widely popular trend among food lovers to visually document their meal with a catchy hashtag (#nomnomnom is our personal favorite). If your restaurant has an extensive menu, just highlight your top-sellers or most unique items with a striking visual.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the new emerging food trends but it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. These tips are easy ways to stay relevant while not losing your “restaurant-identity.”  Successful restaurants understand that the current climate of the food industry is about innovative tastes, unexpected combinations and options that promote inclusivity. From the vegans to the gluten-averse to the kale addicts, while you don’t need to completely change your restaurant’s brand personality, incorporating some of the newer trends will encourage new customers and more revenue. Just remember to make the trend work for you and your customer’s appetites.

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