The restaurant industry is constantly growing and changing, and restaurateurs need to educate themselves on these changes to stay one step ahead. Knowing industry trends helps a restaurant prepare for the future and provides insights for restaurant owners who plan to grow their current business or open a new restaurant. Below, we've shared seven predictions from Restaurant Business on restaurant trends coming in 2018.
1. Asian Island Cuisine
Asian cuisine has been influencing the restaurant world in waves. This year, we will most likely see an emphasis on Southeast Asian island cuisine. A growing interest in Filipino food may build enthusiasm for Indonesian, Malaysian, and Singaporean cooking. These cuisines are often sour and bitter, but with bright aromatic flavors. Additionally, Asian island cuisine offers more subtle and unexpected flavors, when compared to the loud and vibrant flavors of Korean cuisine.
2. Food for Good Digestion
Healthy dining options have become the norm at many restaurants - especially for specialty diets such as gluten free, vegetarian, and paleo. Restaurants are now exploring more ways to fulfill the consumer's need for healthy food choices. This year, expect to see an increase in options for health-conscious food that benefits your digestive system. Ingredients with natural probiotics or anti-inflammatory agents, such as turmeric, are already finding their way onto menus.
3. Off-Site Food Options
Delivery, takeaway, and grab-and-go meals are becoming increasingly popular. This year, we will see restaurants rolling out concepts with more customization and streamlined service. Meanwhile, off-site vendors and ordering kiosks will also help meet demand for on-the-go items.
Consumers want total transparency about the ingredients in their food. Calorie counts and nutritional information have become the new norm, but more specific information will start to appear on labels this year. For example, companies are showing an increased interest in providing traceability and transparency for their globally sourced foods.
5. No Waste Cooking
Identified by Whole Foods as a key trend for 2018, "no waste" cooking uses the typically discarded portions of plants and animals. Popularized by chef Dan Barber, consumers are beginning to catch on to the concept of reducing what they throw in the garbage. No waste menus and recipes will start to appear this year, as well as methods for better composting and recycling.
6. Farm to Lab
A few years ago, the farm-to-table concept brought forth local, healthy, and sustainable food options. As technology improves, and concern about the environment continues to rise, lab-grown and synthetic food products may start to hit the market. Creative products such as Soylent (a powered formula used to replace meals) may take a bigger foothold, as people look for ways to reduce consumption of our planet's resources.
7. Changes in the Workplace
This year, restaurant employers will continue to grapple with issues regarding wages, immigration, and workplace ethics. Many states, such as New York, are already facing the new year with a significant increase in minimum wage and mandatory scheduling regulations. Furthermore, due to recent revelations about harassment in the media and food industries, restaurants will need to take a closer look at their workplace ethics and rules.
Looking for more information? Learn tips and tricks to help you stay on top of industry trends at A Taste of Alto-Shaam hands-on demonstration. Sign up today to share ideas and challenges with other culinary experts and learn how to grow your business.