Consumers put new starters in the game

Consumers’ tastes can drastically change in the span of a year—and they did. New research from Washington, D.C.-based newBrandAnalytics found that the starters people buzzed about most in 2013 were almost completely different from the previous year. Only ceviche was a favorite in both 2012 and 2013. Here are the top-five starters of 2013.

A half dozen "aha" moments from MenuDirections

New ideas and trends can bubble up from the non-commercial side of food service as much as they trickle down from restaurants, as Senior Editor Pat Cobe discovered at a recent conference for food service directors.

In just over three years, Rubin has taken Melt Shop from an idea to three units in New York City, with four more slated to open in 2014.

Last year, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin soup and pumpkin doughnuts dominated chain menus as LTOs and seasonal offerings. This year, it’s all about squash.

As 2013 winds down, 2014 trend predictions proliferate, reaching a critical mass sometime around New Year’s Day. A few preliminary reports are in and here’s what some reliable industry sources are predicting about what meats and other proteins will fill the entrée portion of the plate.

Sunchokes are beginning to shine on menus in a variety of applications—as a pureè, roasted for a side dish and as the main ingredient in a rich, warming soup.

With a Filipino mother and Thai father, it would seem that Chef King Phojanakong is the ideal chef to bring Southeast Asian cooking to a wider audience.

Baked pastas have stood the test of time at the 217-unit Fazoli’s, the Italian quickservice chain based in Lexington, Ky. This fall, Darren Gray, director of culinary innovation, tweaked the formula to create a new LTO: Primo Pizza Baked Sacchetti.

A versatile leafy green, chicory is sometimes referred to as “curly endive” and is used as a salad ingredient, cooked as a vegetable and even roasted and ground as a coffee addition or substitute.

Carson’s has been a Chicago destination for baby back ribs since 1977. How did the restaurant—which now numbers four locations with its recent expansion to Milwaukee—develop a menu item that’s been a best seller since day one?

  • Page 5