Trends impact every industry, and the restaurant industry is no exception. With the speed at which trends cycle, restaurant owners and managers need to pay close attention and be ready to implement changes before they’re gone. This is key to staying competitive in the industry and finding new ways to expand your business. Trends can also help keep your business fresh, attracting a new customer base while keeping regulars interested in your menu’s new additions.
There are several menu trends to keep your eye on, including smaller menus, non-alcoholic spirits, vegan options, and more.
1. Smaller Menus to Minimise Cost and Waste
A smaller menu is a culinary trend that can have major benefits for your business. Narrowing the menu can help you cut food costs and reduce waste. It also can improve service during staff shortages, a problem many restaurants are facing as of late. Less food prep means fewer hands needed in the kitchen.
The key to a small menu is ensuring every item is high quality and the menu has a variety of dishes. Offer a meat, seafood, and vegetarian/vegan option, so any guest can find something that suits their dietary needs.
2. Non-Alcoholic Spirits and Cocktails
Non-alcoholic drinks are on the rise as people reevaluate their relationships with alcohol. The search for “mocktail bar” is up 75% year-over-year, proving there’s a growing market for non-alcohol beers, spirits, and wines.
Consider expanding your menu to include non-alcoholic options. Curate unique names to make them a fun talking point. Some popular mocktails include:
- Fruity mules
- Cucumber gimlets
- Fresh cooler
3. Plant-Based Cheeses and Meat Substitutes
Plant-based options are all the rage as people are starting to incorporate more vegetarian or vegan meals into their diets. These options are a great way to add some variety while also providing health-conscious choices. Offer dishes like a plant-based charcuterie board, a vegan macaroni and cheese, or a mushroom patty that can be substituted into any burger order.
4. Introducing More Non-European Cuisines
Non-European cuisines are gaining popularity as new restaurants make their way to the UK. Palestinian and African cuisines are at the forefront of what many diners see as new and exciting options. The unique flavours create a draw for those looking to experience a blend of spices and innovative foods. Consider integrating these cuisines into your menu with a monthly feature that pulls from non-European flavor palates.
5. More Automation and Robotics for Front of House
With constant technology upgrades, automation is deeply engrained in the restaurant industry. Many food service operations even have an automated ordering system, so their guests can place orders upon sitting at the table. You can also choose options like fully replacing paper menus with QR codes, saving both time and money.
While you may not take the jump to robots quite yet, you can find some cost savings by using automation to streamline service. Consider investing in better POS systems or tablets for your servers. Technology like NCCO’s DateCodeGenie® can help your kitchen save time, reduce food waste, and boost productivity through automated labelling. Staff members can even access recipes and training materials through cloud-based software.
Embrace New Menu Trends
New menu trends keep your restaurant exciting and can help you cut down on costs, allowing you to invest in the products that are essential for your day-to-day business. Ask your distributor about products from NCCO or request a demo to learn more about how the DateCodeGenie can help streamline your kitchen.