Operations

Resolving to forget these trends

Generally, I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. They tend to be grandiose and unrealistic—and why not just resolve to start doing/not doing that thing you’re not doing/doing right away instead of going hog wild until Jan. 1? (New Year’s Day also is my birthday, and if you can’t eat at your favorite Thai restaurant and sip bubbly then, well, when can you?)

sriracha bottles

I do, however, enjoy the raucous singing of “Auld Lang Syne” to ring in the new year, though I’ve never been quite sure whether you’re supposed to be remembering the year fondly or happily putting it out of mind. While I think it’s pretty obvious which of those sentiments applies this year, there also are a few foodservice trends I’d like to happily put out of mind in 2017—with a few supplements from some FSDs.

  • Sriracha on everything. This was identified in our 2017 Chefs’ Council Menu Trends forecast as the most likely trend to drop off in 2017. And while I still say Sriracha has a home in my bibimbap bowl (and on eggs), spicy ice cream does not need to be a thing.
  • Food trucks. This one comes from Mark Freeman, senior manager of global employee services at Microsoft, who told me last year he’s “been dreaming that food trucks would drop off the face of the Earth.” I suspect this has something to do with the trucks’ low level of sustainability, so I’m inclined to agree.
  • Misunderstood buzzwords. While gluten-free as a trend rather than a health concern seems to be backing off, FSDs have told me, the non-GMO movement is still going strong. The jury’s still out on the real definition of many “clean” labels, and I hope operators and diners can do their research about what’s really best for our bodies—and the planet.

And now, three things I will be watching in 2017:

  • FoodService Director’sMenuDirections conference. Registration still is open for our Charlotte, N.C., culinary event at menudirections.com. I’m personally looking forward to learning about the city’s restaurants during the dine-around event—and hosting the Steal This Idea live session.
  • Foodservice Operation of the Month. Replacing FSD of the Month, this updated feature debuts in our January issue as a way to focus on a specific area of accomplishment for an entire operation.
  • Anatomy of a Renovation. Throughout the first five issues of 2017, I’ll be tracking a kitchen revamp at The University of Chicago Medical Center from its genesis in 2014 to functional reality in late 2016, including lessons along the way.

Cheers to the new year, and may you operate in good health!

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