The once exotic spice curry is finding its way into restaurant dishes with more frequency as customers look for fast and tasty new dishes that are also healthy. The wide variety of flavors in a typical curry makes it the perfect recipe for experimentation. According to the Food Institute, curries are also ideal for adding a new taste to traditional dishes, such as chicken and salads.
Sustainable Food Carts
In an effort to improve the sustainability of food vendors, a Queens company is supplying up to 500 food carts outfitted with solar panels and rechargeable batteries, The Wall Street Journal reports. A number of the vendors will receive the new carts at no charge, thanks to a partnership with the city council.
Catering To Kids
Want to attract more families to your restaurant? Perhaps you might like to offer your younger clientele a tasting menu. At one Virginia restaurant, children can dine on sophisticated, gourmet dishes such as smoked mozzarella arancini with escabeche and smoked trout, the Associated Press reports. Why bother? "The idea is to introduce [kids] into some new ingredients, while still finding textures and flavors that work well for their palate, and exposing them to this type of dining and just the natural progression where our meals go from lighter fare to heavier," said executive chef Austin Fausett of Trummer's on Main in Clifton, VA.
According to recent research of 1,000 consumers by Dataessential, the top five restaurant appetizers are: chicken wings, French fries, shrimp cocktail, fried cheese sticks, and chicken strips. Also on the list of perennial favorites are jalapeño poppers, and fried calamari.
Changing Menus Reflect Changing Tastes
Locally grown, the rise of ethnic foods, Millennial power, sustainability, and healthy foods have all played a part in the changing tastes of today's restaurant clientele. Once limited to the breakfast menu, eggs, for example, are now regularly served with everything from burgers to avocados. Kale is taking the place of iceberg lettuce, and veggies, fruit, and locally sourced meats are now featured on the menus of
savvy restaurants around the country. According to Mark Erickson, provost at the Culinary Institute of America and a certified master chef, "We're beginning to get to where Eastern culture has been for thousands of years, which is the idea that food is medicine, and we cannot disassociate our health with what we eat," QSRWeb reports.
Diners Willing To Pay More For Locally Sourced Foods
A recent survey by Mintel found that while most diners do not consciously seek out restaurants with locally-sourced foods, they are willing to pay more once they find out it is offered. According to Mintel's research, 74% of consumers say they select a restaurant based on the menu, while 67% say they base their decision on price. Popularity of Gluten-free Products Growing Gluten-free markets are growing at a healthy clip of 12% a year, and will approach 4.4 billion within the next four years a, MicroMarket Monitor is reporting. The lion's share of that group is based on the increasing popularity of confectionary and gluten-free bakery goods.
Mobile Payment Apps Are Coming Your Way
If you do not already accept mobile payments at your restaurants, chances are good you will within the next few years, The Chicago Tribune reports. The reasons why are compelling. Not only do patrons increasingly want the option to pay with their smart devices, but the service also offers restaurants some distinct advantages, too. Among the most beneficial are added convenience, increased efficiency, data collection, and the ability to run analytics about your business. So what service should you consider? Dash, Reserve, Cover, Tock, TabbedOut, and pioneer Open Table are all vying for a controlling interest in what is seen as a lucrative business. Still, the Tribune predicts, no one company will dominate the mobile payment business. Apple Pay is currently working with OpenTable, and Google Wallet is still assessing the market.
Peruvian Food Makes Headway On U.S. Menus
There is a "new" kid on the block when it comes to ethnic food favorites, reports Nation's Restaurant News. Peruvian dishes, from marinated fish to beef hearts and delicate salsas make for some fantastic new dishes that have diners coming back for more at restaurants like Chicago's Tanta. At Del Campo, an elegant South American grill in Washington, D.C., NRN reports that “chef Victor Albisu’s eclectic menu features several Peruvian dishes. Among the offerings are the Corvina Ceviche, with avocado, ramps, grilled corn, celery and Peruvian chile dressing; Peruvian Chicken, a slow-roasted chicken marinated in Peruvian spices and served with crispy yuca, ají amarillo, aioli, and green chile purée; and Octopus Causa.” Based on the overwhelming positive reception of Peruvian dishes across the U.S., it may be time to spice your menu with a little Peruvian cuisine.
Organic Labeling Not Trusted
More than half of the consumers surveyed by Mintel believe that organic is a term used to raise prices. Less than 39% of respondents even trust that organically labelled products are actually organic, and that number drops the older the respondent. In addition, less than 30% of consumers realize that organic products are regulated.
US Foods To Shutter Florida Facility
Citing a significant drop in business, US Foods has notified 206 workers in Lakeland, FL that it will be closing that facility by August and shifting its warehousing to its Port Orange and Tampa facilities. The company is in the midst of a merger attempt with Sysco that is being opposed by the Federal Trade Commission in court. US Foods recently declared a profitable first quarter, but the company has been losing money for some time. Should the merger fail, US Food CEO John Ledhler told Nation's Restaurant News that the company is well positioned to move on; although he admitted that the merger has placed US Foods in a state of limbo.