April 19th, 2021

Restaurant Trends That Helped Them Survive 2020

Posted in Consumer Trends, Restaurants

These Restaurant Trends Helped Bring Us to 2021

Restaurant Trends

As we focus on what 2021 is going to bring, it’s good to see what restaurant trends helped them survive 2020.

Why should we do this? Because, if they could drive success in a market that tough, they’re good tools to ensure survival in other hard times. And I think we all know there will be more rocky roads ahead.

Like the old saying goes, “proper planning prevent poor performance.” So, let’s stay prepared so that we’re ready for anything.

Restaurants Trends for Survival

Streamlined Menus

2020 Restaurant trends

All F&B industry professionals know the value of minimalization and cross-utilization. But, in our excitement to innovate we can sometimes lose track of just how valuable it is.

Streamlining prevents waste, overbuying, excessive labor costs, and much more. Restaurants keen to stay keep serving even in the face of dining room shutdowns found success in cutting their menus down to select items.

Menu mainstays include consumer favorites, items that travel well, and profitable items. Savvy restaurants found ways to use existing ingredients in new ways to keep things exciting.

Sauces are an excellent way to stay simple while promoting flavor. They go pretty much anywhere, and a single sauce can be used interchangeably on multiple items. Buffalo chicken wings, spicy buffalo burger, loaded buffalo fries, buffalo cauliflower, and so on.

Sides and Such

Restaurant Survival Tips

One popular trend from COVID is referred to as “blended meals.” In this case, for instance, a consumer makes their own entrée at home, but orders appetizers and sides from their favorite restaurant.

This can happen in many ways. Make a vegetable stir fry at home, order pot stickers and spicy edamame from the restaurant down the street. This spaghetti is great, but it would be even better with a few giant meatballs and breadsticks from the Italian restaurant next door.

This is another example of a great way to extend a menu without adding extra items. Sell marinara smothered meatballs as a side. Offer any menu sauce as an add-on item. See what innovative ways you can give customers what they want while you focus on food quality and safety.

Bundled Meals

Pizza Trends

Bundled meals turned out to be a great option for families and roommates. Not only could you get a great entrée and sides but having drinks and dessert for one price made life easier.

Restaurants even had the great idea of serving larger portions so there could be leftovers for the next day. This is the type of value, when paired with quality food, that excited consumers who were busy balancing the craziness of a new style of everyday life with their bank accounts.

Box deal pizzas with an-extra large salad and cinnamon bread, family-size baked ziti with roasted vegetables and tiramisu, and whole BBQ briskets with sides, sauce, and bread pudding are just some of the offerings of 2020.

Comfort Foods

Comfort Foods

This is a trend that won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Comfort foods of all types are still selling big at restaurants nationally. Whether it’s fried chicken, lasagna, or a hearty soup or stew, they’re bound to make customers happy.

Focusing on foods that inspire memories of feel-good times will be a good idea going forward. Plus, these types of foods tend to allow cross-utilization. Fried chicken can be on a sandwich, in a wrap, dipped, dunked, or slathered. Stews can become pot pies or hand pies, and leftover lasagna can be breaded and fried or made into a soup.

Now You’re Ready

Armed with these restaurant trends, you can be prepared for whatever comes next. Hopefully, you won’t need them. Hopefully soon we can get back to business as usually. But, best to be ready for anything. And we’ll be here to help you make the most out of any situation.

Tags: , , , , ,
April 5th, 2021

Guajillo Chile is the Flavor of the Moment

Posted in Consumer Trends, Food Trends, Sauce

Guajillo Chile Makes a Bold Statement

Guajillo Chile

Image courtesy of WorldSpice.com

2021 looks to be the year of chiles and spice, and the guajillo chile is already making a big splash.

The guajillo pepper in its fresh form is called a mirasol pepper. When dried, it develops a leathery skin and a complex fruity and smoky flavor. With a flavor hybrid of raisin and chipotle.

It has a medium spiciness, ranging from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville Heat Units. This makes it slightly spicier than a poblano but milder than your average jalapeño.

In Mexico you’ll most commonly find guajillo chiles in moles, but they also find their way into salsas and marinades. Their dark brown color creates a beautiful, deep, rich looking sauce akin to chocolate.

Guajillo Chilies on the Rise

How Common is it?

Guajillo Chile Salsa

Photo courtesy of PepperScale.com.

Right now, guajillo chilies rest at the “Adoption” phase of Datassential’s Menu Adoption Cycle. This means that it’s gaining traction, but still unique. You’ll find guajillo at progressive fast casuals and specialty grocery stores, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

According to Datassential, this smoky little delight is on about 2.8% of menus nationwide, but that’s up 28% over the past for years. So, there’s definitely interest brewing. While only 14% of the population has tried it, 29% of the population knows about it. That means there’s a good opportunity to expose curious new consumers to the flavor in the form of a special sauce or LTO.

Where Can You Find Guajillo on Menus?

Chile Trends

Image courtesy of RickBayless.com.

As stated above, it’s still working its way into the mainstream, but has nonetheless permeated some recognizable menus.

The most standout of which would be Xoco, Rick Bayless’s fast-casual restaurant in Chicago. He puts guajillo center stage in his short rib sandwich made with guajillo-braised short ribs, grilled cactus salad, avocado, and black beans.

It’s also featured on menus in places like Dirt Candy, TAG Restaurants, and at Proof and Provision in Atlanta. This, of course, is only a small smattering of establishments finding the rich complexity of guajillo a winning ingredient.

Even retail brands like Pace Picante and Humble House Sauces have launched salsas featuring guajillo chilies.

What Does This Mean?

Food Trends

Image courtesy of WoodlandFoods.com

It means guajillo is growing in recognition and becoming a safe option to explore on your restaurant’s menu. Adding guajillo concentrates and salsas to items like sour cream and mayonnaise balance out the heat with creaminess and cool flavors. These are great for sandwiches and wraps.

Consider adding guajillo to fresh house salsas to add bold flavor and offer another menu item without adding multiple ingredients. Or even drop a whole chile into soups, stews, and chilis to add a unique flavor that’ll help you stand out among competitors. Your imagination is the limit.

A Chile with Depth

The smoky, slightly piquant, and sweet/tart nature of guajillo chiles make them a safe bet for menu experimentation. And with trends pushing towards specific chile flavors and piquant foods, the time is right to get in front of customers.

Tags: , , , , ,