Hawaiian spam? Vinegar tea? As the Triangle continues to grow in culinary acclaim, you’ll likely see some of these food trends in our local restaurants next year.
The survey is in, and next year’s palates will be craving flavors from afar — specifically African, Hawaiian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Condiments and garnishes with a spicy kick will take the spotlight. So, what if you’re an all-American grill? Don’t panic. Take this opportunity to showcase your restaurant’s existing distinct sauces, flavors and house specials to appeal to new diners.
Local Clucks and Moos
Already on the rise from 2015, local sourcing remains high on the list of 2016 culinary trends, specifically in reference to proteins. Many Triangle restaurants already adopt the farm-to-fork approach to cooking, evidenced by local initiatives such as the Farm-to-Fork Festival. But there’s always room to spotlight your fresher offerings, such as crisp produce and local seafood specials.
Quick and Easy
Even with the continued popularity of healthy eating trends, Americans still want the convenience of online ordering and quick delivery. Services such as 919Dine.com and GrubHub are predicted to see a spike in sales as costumers demand their favorite foods fast. Restaurants should take the opportunity to evaluate the creativity and convenience of mobile ordering, apps and text options, like Domino’s text ordering program that lets you request a delivery with a simple pizza emoji.
Sour, the New Sweet.
Bid farewell to sugary yogurt, and welcome savory flavors. Food Business News highlights the new “switchels” as an example, a health drink made with apple cider vinegar and ginger that might eclipse standard energy drinks. Highlight existing items that already lend themselves to a salty profile or try a new spin on restaurant stalwarts.
Restaurants are combing their menus and ditching preservatives as well as salt, sugar and fat additives. The trend got an early start this year when Panera removed 150 ingredients – like maltodextrin – from its menu to what it dubbed its “no-no list.” It’s time to explore fresh produce and chemical-free proteins.
And then there was that time that one of our Clairemont team members decided to start her own culinary movement of eating sand — which ended up being plate garnish. But until that becomes a bona fide trend, check out how to market existing dishes to millennial diners.