Guy Zehner, Maines VP of Marketing and Brands, shared an inside scoop with the Maines team on some of the hottest trends in the restaurant industry. Here’s what he had to say…
Community Dining & Large Plates
This is a trend that is popping up everywhere. Today restaurants are being designed around the large plate concept. River Roast, a new, critically acclaimed restaurant in Chicago features both Large Plates and Snacks on its menu. These are the types of restaurants that are opening now and are becoming mainstream. “Some of the things that jump out to me on their menu are roasts carved tableside – it’s about community, social dining, and it’s just cool. These are great ideas for any restaurant to do as a feature item.” said Zehner.
The key to executing Large Plates is getting the timing right. A lot of chefs today are requiring a pre-order for their large plate menu. Pre-ordering will allow you to do a large plate roast without losing quality due to pre-cooking. This is something any restaurant can do.
Tradition is a big theme in the industry today as well. In some restaurants, you no longer see a filet mignon featured on a menu. Chefs are focusing now on simple food done well. Keep an eye out for this trend of bold and flavorful food that honors tradition of place and its quality.
Garden or Vegetable Categories
Here is another fresh menu category that we’re starting to see. MFK Restaurant in Chicago has a “From the Soil” section on its menu. Chefs are focusing more on preserving the integrity and tradition of the ingredients on menus.
This is where the industry is moving towards in 2016, and it’s how you succeed today in the restaurant business.