2005 Menu Development Survey: Dishing it out

Many of the largest organizations in foodservice have revamped, overhauled or otherwise upgraded their menus in recent years.

And for 2005, the study added a section on display cooking. Following are summaries of each area based upon examination of response data.

By cycle: According to the survey, 80% of operators are on a menu cycle, the most common of which lasts four weeks. Previous surveys had suggested some change in this pattern might be on its way, but not much materialized.

Trade shows and conferences are the No.1 source of new ideas in menu concepts, respondents indicate, followed by casual and family restaurants as well as quick-serve concepts—proving that non-commercial operators look as much to the commercial side of the industry for inspiration as they do their peers in education, healthcare and corporate dining.

They also consult chef associations and conduct focus groups.

Ethnic influence: The FSD survey shows that non-commercial operators continue to place heavy emphasis on ethnic menus, as their customer base continues to diversify while seeking newer cuisines and bolder flavors and meal experiences in order to satisfy their increasingly sophisticated palates.

The popularity of ethnic foods remains high in menu development, and authenticity is mandatory. “Guests are requesting the real thing,” says Andrew Lackmann, vice president of Lackmann Food Service. Rick Postiglione, ceo of Compass Group’s B&I sector, adds, “Ethnic cuisine continues to be the menu of choice.”

Mexican and Asian foods continue to dominate the non-commercial ethnic menu landscape, while the Mediterranean/Greek category shows signs of growth—and in some markets, Indian food is making a significant showing. In fact, respondents indicate that Indian tops the list of ethnic cuisines they plan to add this year; there’s also clear influence from the Middle East and rising interest in the Mediterranean/Greek category.

Operators suggest there’s a lot more to ethnic menu implementation than just the decision about what to serve. The top challenges associated with preparing and serving authentic ethnic cuisines are: preparation and staff training; obtaining ingredients and recipes; and costs, both in terms of food and labor.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
teamwork pack

As summer begins to fade and vacation season comes to a close, it’s time to start thinking about revitalizing staffers’ connections to one another . It’s certainly no secret in the Winsight offices that I’m a bit of a social butterfly, which, in turn, means I’m a rockstar at team building. Can you spot the inter-office activity I haven’t organized from the list below?

• Breakfast Sandwich Fridays: Co-workers rotate responsibility of providing ingredients for customizable sandwiches. Mimosas may have been involved. • “Sound of Music” Soundtrack Singalong Thursdays. The majority of...

Industry News & Opinion
k-12

The School Nutrition Foundation —the School Nutrition Association’s philanthropic sibling—and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign have partnered to launch an initiative called Schools as Nutrition Hubs.

“No Kid Hungry really sees schools as a critical place in the fight against childhood hunger,” says Laura Hatch, director of national partnerships for No Kid Hungry. “Schools are really a no-brainer because they have the infrastructure, they have the experience, it’s a trusted place for families. And being able to maximize their programs and maximize the federal...

Ideas and Innovation
walk-in cooler

The walk-in cooler can serve as a gathering place for more than just produce. When temperatures rise, staff at Empire State South restaurant in Atlanta host meetings in the walk-in and make occasional trips to hang out throughout the day to beat the back-of-house heat.

Menu Development
college students eating

Taste may reign supreme when college students choose their next snack, but operators should also pay attention to factors such as price and portion size. Here are the most important attributes students consider when choosing snacks, according to Technomic’s 2017 College and University Consumer Trend Report .

Taste: 78%

Ability to satisfy my appetite between meals: 67%

Price: 64%

Portion size: 54%

Familiarity: 46%

Overall nutrition value: 40%

Protein content: 36%

All-natural ingredients: 29%

Fiber content: 27%

...

FSD Resources