2010 Menu Development survey: In menus, diversity rules

Chefs and operators are becoming more adventurous with their menus but there are still limits to what they can achieve.

FSD’s 2010 Menu Survey

The results of our 2010 Menu Development Survey are in. Here is a snapshot of the industry, based on the responses of 298 operators.

  • America has long been known as a “melting pot” or “salad bowl” because of the variety of ethnicities represented in this country. That variety is reflected in the types of cuisines being offered among our survey respondents. The 12 cuisines represented, by percent offering: Chinese/Japanese: 73%; Mediterranean/Greek: 45%; Nuevo Latino: 25%; Caribbean: 24%; Indian: 24%; Cuban: 22%; Middle Eastern: 22%; Thai: 21%; Jamaican: 19%; Korean: 10%; Vietnamese: 8%; other Southeast Asian: 6%.• Twenty-three percent of respondents said they offer none of the cuisines listed above. The percentages were highest in nursing homes/LTC (43%), schools (26%) and hospitals (23%).
  • Thai (20%), Mediterranean and Indian (10% each) are mentioned by respondents to be “hot” ethnic cuisines.• Thai is also the cuisine most likely to be added by respondents during the next 12 months, with 15% indicating they would be including it in their menu mix. Other likely additions include Caribbean (14%), Cuban and other Southeast Asian (13% each), and Indian, Vietnamese and Nuevo Latino (12% each).
  • Culinary training is an important component for operators wanting to keep abreast of menu trends, and there are several options available to make this happen. Among the learning opportunities used by respondents are trade shows and conferences (71%), in-house seminars and workshops (65%), online training (36%), off-site training (29%), bringing culinary professionals in (25%) and chef competitions (20%).
  • Takeout business makes up about 19%, on average, of the meal volume among respondents. Grab and go is most popular in hospitals (33%), B&I (33%) and colleges (22%), and least popular in nursing homes/LTC (8%) and schools (6%). On average, one-quarter of operators expect takeout business to grow during the next year, and 4% expect it to decrease.
  • Display cooking is an option offered by 44% of operators. Colleges (87%) and B&I (79%) are the most likely places to see preparation in front of diners, while schools (7%) seldom do display prep. Of those operators who do display cooking, 43% do it every day, 16% offer it four to six times per week, 16% offer it two to three times a week and 23% make it a once-a-week occasion. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they expect the frequency of display cooking to increase in the near future.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

When looking for a way to get more use out of its Canyon Cafe, open during the weekends only, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., tried something new: free cooking classes.

Classes are open to students, as well as faculty and staff, and are taught by Campus Dining Executive Chef Michael Albright, according to Mustang News .

The weekday classes, which are capped at 14 participants, have taught attendees how to make items such as probiotic overnight oats and “the perfect turkey.” Interested parties can sign up online via the school’s dining...

Managing Your Business
chef online sourcing

More than 40% of restaurants buy supplies from online sources such as Amazon at least once per month, reducing their reliance on distributors, according to new research from Technomic.

The bulk of the online shopping—what Technomic calls third-party e-sourcing, or 3ES—is for nonperishable foods and other supplies that can’t spoil, such as disposables. "Today, operators are most inclined to purchase products in the nonfoods and shelf space but are reluctant to source frozen and perishables from 3ES,” said Joe Pawlak, managing principal of Technomic. “However, they can envision a...

Industry News & Opinion

Anchorage School District in Anchorage, Alaska, is offering free meals to students this week while schools are closed due to the recent earthquake, KTVA reports.

The meals are being served at nine schools throughout the district between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and are available to anyone 18 and under. The district has provided school buses at each location to allow students to eat inside.

Read the full story via ktva.com .

Industry News & Opinion

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced its final rule on school meal standards .

The final rule builds upon the USDA's changes to school meal standards announced last year . It will keep the sodium Target 1 limits in place through school year 2023-2024, and Target 2 limits will go into effect for the 2024-2025 school year. The final sodium target (Target 3) will be eliminated.

While operators have been able to meet sodium Target 1 limits, many felt that the second two would be difficult to acheive. Over 90% of respondents in a School Nutrition...

FSD Resources