Foodservice Trends Shaping Menus in 2012

December 8, 2011

2 Min Read
Foodservice Trends Shaping Menus in 2012

CHICAGOIn 2012, five trends will shape how foodservice operators appeal to their customers with regional and imported menu options, double-sided menus, customization and time-intensive preparation methods, according to a new market data from Mintel Menu Insights.

The five predicted to impact the foodservice industry in the coming year include:

  1. American Regionalism. Consumers are not only more aware of global cuisine, they also are more aware and interested in the regional specialties that define American cuisine. Whether its Kansas City or Memphis barbecue, New England Chowder or Low Country grits, more consumers and restaurants are looking at the regions and cities in the United States to identify the Best Of" cuisine.

  2. Double-Sided Menus. Its unlikely that consumers are going to start demanding absolutely healthy menus in the near future and even less likely that restaurants are going to solely list absolutely healthy options. However, consumers want choices, and the Double Sided Menu trend illustrates that choice. Menus will continue to feature widely indulgent options, but will be balanced with healthier, better for you" options. This trend goes beyond healthy and indulgent to include premium and value pricing.

  3. Consumer Control. Consumers expect that their voice will be heard and their wants and needs will be met. The surest way to listen to the customer and ensure their needs are met is to give them the ability to control their dining experience. Customized ordering systems will continue to flourish, as will greater flexibility in menu design.

  4. Slow It Down. QSRs are able to drive margins through their standardized efficiencies, but fast-food restaurants are returning to more time-intensive preparation methods. Items described as handmade" or home style" are popping up on restaurant menus as consumers recognize they want more from their dining experience than efficiency.

  5. Importing Ideas. For many restaurant chains, growth lies in international markets. For those companies already with an international presence, menu concepts and product testing is taking place overseas. From there, good ideas are making their way to the U.S. market, as was the case with McDonald's recent McBites, which first started in Australia before entering the U.S. market. Given the importance of international markets for growth, this is one trend that will continue to growth beyond this year.

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