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Consumer Trends

5 restaurant trends to watch for in 2019

Photograph: Shutterstock

The restaurant industry changes so quickly that if it’s easy to miss trends. And as one goes by, another 10 are waiting in the wings. This year is no different. Here’s a peek at some of the can’t-miss trends to watch for.

1. Savory flavor boosters at breakfast

Savory options are emerging as a beloved member of the breakfast club. Diners can expect to see oatmeal and bean-topped grain bowls, uniquely flavored sausages and global-inspired dishes such as shakshuka or chilaquiles on the menu. As for what types of savory flavors are gaining traction, be on the lookout for cotija cheese, blue cheese, Caesar dressing, Cajun spices, sriracha and pecorino cheese.

2. Asian and Pacific Island cuisines

Look for experimentation with Pacific and Asian island cuisines. Where sriracha has thrived in the past, sambal will begin appearing more and more. Lime is a prominent flavor in these cuisines, and Filipino adobo will likely increase in notoriety. Malaysian and Indonesian foods to look out for include satay (seasoned, skewered and grilled meat served with a sauce) and bakso (a savory meatball soup).

3. Ordering automation  

Self-ordering kiosks speed up lines, and at-the-table ordering offers a sense of immediacy to diners, rather than having to wait for a server’s attention. At-the-table ordering also offers the potential of increased check averages, since there’s no waiting to order drinks, apps or desserts—three categories that diners may waver on and decide against if they have the spare time to do so.

4. Better-for-you kids meals

As finding healthier options becomes more and more important to consumers, kids menus are changing in stride. Some chains have already taken steps in this direction. For instance, Smashburger offers grilled chicken strips as part of its kids menu, while Burger King offers its BK Fresh Apple Fries (peeled apple slices) as a side instead of traditional french fries.

5. Plant-based dining

Expect to see a heavier focus is on making vegetables the star of the show, rather than just a side. This could be due to consumers’ increased consumption of vegetarian and vegan meals—23% of consumers say they expect to eat more vegetarian foods in the next two years, and 21% say they expect to eat more vegan options,  according to Technomic’s 2019 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian report. Additionally, look for more unique plant-based items on menus, like Romanesco broccoli, burgers made from beets and cashew-based “cheese” sauces.

For ideas on how to incorporate these trends into your menu, check out the recipes available from Bush’s Best.

This post is sponsored by Bush’s Best®

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