As states are easing restrictions and people feel more comfortable dining out, Summer 2021 will be a season of eating and drinking to make up for lost time. If you’re looking to add a few hot items to your menu to pique your guests’ interests and whet their appetites, then look no further.
Cooled Down Caffeine
Most people wouldn’t want a hot, steaming cup of coffee on a 90-degree day, but a few other cool caffeinated treats are making waves across the nation. According to Yelp, strawberry matcha, iced coffee drinks featuring cold foam, and lavender lattes are on the rise. Beyond breakfast time, espresso martinis as cocktails or after-dinner treats are starting to spike in popularity as well.
Can You Pickle It?
This year has brought a newfound interest in homemade pickling, so expect to see this interest carry over into consumers’ ordering habits, too. What can you pickle? Well, just about anything, but if you’re looking for some fun alternatives to the standard cucumber, carrots or radishes are a good place to start. Consider adding pickled foods as an appetizer or part of a charcuterie board.
Cauliflower Rice and Plant-Based Proteins
Cauliflower is remarkably versatile, posing first in its “steak” form (remove comma) and now making a comeback as a rice alternative. Many major chains, including Chipotle and Zoe’s Kitchen, have added cauliflower rice as an option for patrons who can’t eat rice or would prefer a more nutrient-rich carbohydrate.
Beyond rice, Whole Foods also predicts a rise in the popularity of plant-based proteins, including barbecue, “fish,” and even “chicken” nuggets for the little ones. Consider throwing vegetarians a plant-based “bone” by adding one of these to your menu.
Eat Your Veggies
Americans gained an average of two pounds a month during lockdown, and as a result, the general population is aspiring to eat healthier these days. Think about adding veggie-forward salads to the menu and taking advantage of grilled vegetables’ summertime popularity as a side or main dish.
A Local Focus
After 2020 took a dark toll on local businesses, Americans are looking to do what they can to feel like they’re supporting them again. The first female executive chef of Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, Meg Bickford, would have to agree: “Supporting local is more important than ever.” Look to nearby farms as sources of herbs, veggies, and meats, and be sure to call out their local origins on your menu.
Non-Dairy Ice Cream
The non-dairy ice cream market is expected to grow by over 13 percent by 2026. Adding it as a menu item is a double-bonus because it appeals to both vegans and those with lactose intolerance. Many varieties of non-dairy ice cream are available, from sorbets to recipes that rely on milk alternatives, like almond milk or coconut milk.
Keeping Quality High
For current menu trends as well as future ones, it’s important to retain high quality across the board. Consider using the Synergy Sync restaurant training app to keep staff on the same page with new menu items, and keep procedures in place to ensure the successful production of delicious food. Trends might come and go, but a well-trained staff can help ensure that all menu items will come out delicious.