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

Industry News & Opinion

A foodservice conference in Kentucky held a student panel where students gave feedback on their school lunch program, Bowling Green Daily News reports.

The panel of students, who attend Warren East High School in Bowling Green, Ky., said that they would enjoy menu items such as smoothies made with natural ingredients, and a salad bar. Students also said they would like the option to dine in places other than the cafeteria, such as the library or outside.

Additionally, the students shared that phone calls, Snapchat and FaceTime were their favorite methods of communication...

Sponsored Content
students eating lunch

From Bush’s Best®.

Imitating restaurant trends has long been a way to increase participation in K-12 meal programs. As consumer drive for ethnic flavors continues to ramp up—it was named as a top trend by the National Restaurant Association earlier in 2018—it’s no surprise that school meal operators are looking to bring those qualities to the lunchroom. And ethnic inspiration isn’t the only restaurant trend popping up on school menus. Plant-forward cuisine and customizable options are also proliferating.

Ethnic eats

A 2017 report from the School Nutrition Association found...

Menu Development
veggies

Though consumers are interested in improving their food choices, they can be easily scared away by dishes that sound too healthy .

For instance, according to Technomic’s Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , 30% of diners ages 18-34 said they would choose an indulgent menu item over a healthier one because they thought the indulgent item would taste better.

To diners, good tasting and good for you don’t usually go together. With that in mind, today’s chefs are meeting that challenge by marketing delicious, flavorful, indulgent dishes that also happen to be healthy....

Industry News & Opinion

Students at Adobe Acres Elementary School in Albuquerque, N.M., have a new menu item this school year, KOB reports.

Named Delish, the dish includes hominy, corn and carnitas and is available on Wednesdays every three weeks this semester.

The recipe was developed in a partnership between the nutrition team and celebrity chefs Adrienne Cheatham and Jet Tila.

Read the full story via kob.com .

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code