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Food

Food trends and recipes to keep menus fresh

Food

Topped off

With U.S. pizza restaurant sales expected to reach $44 billion by 2017, according to Mintel’s latest research, pizza shows no sign of slowing down. Traditional pizza options remain popular, but consumers’ pizza tastes are broadening when it comes to topping off their pies.

Food

Cones are the new cup

Cones are no longer just for ice cream. Breaking away from its traditional use as a holder of frozen treats, operators around the country are finding creative ways to use cones in food service.

U.S. pizza restaurant sales are expected to reach $44 billion by 2017, according to Mintel’s latest research. Traditional pizza options remain popular, but consumers’ pizza tastes are broadening when it comes to topping off their pies.

The Columbus, Ohio-based Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern has 15 locations, but only the Indianapolis store serves up a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. The reason? Consumer demand for this regional Hoosier specialty could not be ignored.

Steak performs well for Cousins Subs, because core customers see it as a point of differentiation for a sandwich QSR, says Justin McCoy, VP of marketing at the 122-unit chain based in Menamonee Falls, Wis. So in the last quarter of 2014, R&D developed a cheesesteak that layers a more generous portion of steak with premium ingredients.

Given the media attention lavished on trendy new ingredients and emerging ethnic cuisines, one might assume that customers are always seeking new thrills when they dine out. The reality is quite different. Research shows that consumers are actually creatures of habit who go back to the same restaurants and order the same items because it is safe and comforting.

Pork is predicted to be the “latest protein star,” according to Technomic’s Take: 10 Trends for 2014.

Flighty may best describe the 2014 restaurant customer. End-of-year trend predictions revealed that he or she may be seeking adventurous flavors on one visit, value on another.

Charcuterie plates loaded with salume and prosciutto hit the restaurant scene at full force within the last few years. But what about non-pork eaters who won’t indulge in Speck or Coppa? Enter pastrami.

QSRs are experimenting with less traditional breads, delivering on consumers’ desire for upscale options.