Which Foodservice Trends Will We See in 2017? What Foodable Industry Experts Predict

The new year is upon us and Foodable is beyond excited to see which trends will reign in 2017!

Luckily for you, a few of Foodable’s foodservice industry experts have come to aid you in this arduous task of identifying key trends and making solid predictions. Our experts, who work as restaurant consultants themselves, are in tune with the pulse of the industry and the changing consumers attitudes in foodservice.

Lets see what our experts have to say!

With 34 years of experience in different areas of the foodservice industry, Donald Burns, The Restaurant Coach™, has identified his big three trends for the year.

African Flavors

“You’re going to see a lot of things like Shawarma and Harissa, and you’re going to come in and see a lot of the chefs...take a lot of those spices and those kinds of flavor profiles and implementing them… You’re going to see that kind of stuff in tacos, barbecue, etc.”

Cooking Classes and Kits

“Restaurants could really take advantage of this and have some options here to have some real cooking classes...or maybe you could do a kit, maybe your own home meal kit, and you can basically send it to people or they can pick it at your restaurant with instructions. Maybe you already have your signature sauces blended for them, so it takes some of the guess work out of them…it’s a huge opportunity for people who want to take advantage of this hot trend.”

Food Halls

"Today, people, they want to mix it up… they want to try out new things. Nothing is better than going to a food hall with your friends and having lots and lots of different options available... There are [great] ones out there in the market. There’s one in Houston, Tex., called Conservatory… There’s another one: Avante in Denver… also the Revival Food Hall in Chicago. Another great concept!”

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Jaclyn Morgan is the owner in principal of JM Foodservice Consulting, LLC with 20 years of experience in equipment product management and category management for grocery retail. She’s also an MAS consultant belonging to the FCSI organization. Below are a couple of trends Morgan sees spilling over into 2017 from 2016, along with the emergence of a trend that is gaining major traction thanks to the fast-advancing-technology environment that we live in nowadays.

Hyper-Local Food

“Customers want to connect personally with their food. This is why hyper-local sourcing is so important. Another interesting side to that is people want global flavor. So it’s very interesting that we want to know where our food comes from and how to be part of our community, but customers want to travel the world at the same time.”

Food Waste Reduction (Sustainability)

“We heard of sustainability in many different ways over the years. We’ve seen it decades ago as back-to-nature, we’ve all heard about going green. So, again, we’re continuing to talk about sustainability and how are we — either as restaurant owners or as customers — ...helping the environment and the community around us. 

This boils down to food waste reduction… Within interior design, right now, sustainability still involves:reclaimed woods and a sense of 'green.' Again, it’s that connection we all want to have back with nature and within our community.”

Digital Collection of Consumer Data (Technology)

“We need to gather feedback from our customers, from social media, from the internet, as quickly and efficiently as possible and work that into an excellent recipe for customer service, to be able to communicate immediately and make an impact.”

As a 15-year veteran in the hospitality world, restaurant consultant and founder of Savory Hospitality, Salar Sheik, builds, grows, manages, expands, and brings clients' food and beverage visions to life. Sheik’s top picks are as follows:

Pasta

"In 2017, we are definitely seeing a big push in crafted pastas, definitely pastas that are housemade from scratch, as well as gluten-free…. We’ve also seen: kelp noodles, rice-based noodles, a lot of great quinoa noodles.… Be on the look out because this definitely fulfills the comfort food section as well as just flavors.”

Korean Food

“It definitely has a great spice profile, a lot of flavors. You’ve seen, I believe, mass chains picking up on the flavor profiles and ingredients from gochujang pepper paste to kimchee, bulgogi burgers. We are already seeing it a bit on the food trucks, but I think it will definitely be a big hit out in the restaurant industry.”

Naturally Fermented Food

“What are naturally fermented foods? More than just pickles. We’ve seen fermented bread, radishes, yogurts, kombucha juice. Naturally fermented foods have been in great popularity in terms of health, flavor profile. Chefs are definitely exploring its ability to enhance dishes. We saw a festival of 5,000 people at Boston Fermented Food Festival. People showed up really enthusiastic… A lot of food critics are saying this is the future of eating. I think in 2017 we will see a whole lot of that!”

Finally, Doug Radkey, an expert in restaurant and bar startup development and founder of Key Restaurant Group in Canada, shared his top three trends for 2017.

Tech-Driven Delivery

“I believe this is continuously going be a disruptor from within the industry and more so with independents in this upcoming year, as it’s more convenient for them to get online ordering, online payments, digital loyalty reward programs. These are all becoming more accessible for them and also affordable.

At the same time, we are also going to see more full-service restaurants get into the take-out and delivery spectrum, delivering food to homes, offices and even hotels…. Also voice-recognition is going to become a bigger thing... [with items such as Amazon‘s Echo] where customers can place an order from their home by simply using their voice."

Garden to Glass with Hyper-Local Products

“Chefs getting into it with their own gardens, more storytelling behind the product, where it’s coming from, and also instead of farm to table, we are going to start seeing more garden to glass for example, on the bar side of things…”

Struggles for Start-Ups in 2017 and Advice

“In terms of cost, [it] is no secret that utilities are continuously rising, food costs are going up, wages continue to go up, which is also creating labor shortages, in terms of having qualified cooks [who] can deliver on high quality, hyper local product, and of course, market saturation, as well. There are plenty of copy-cat type concepts that are out there, making it very difficult for independent aspiring restaurateurs to get into the game. The ideal situation to combat this issue within the industry is to develop a very detailed feasibility study followed by a very thorough concept plan that is profitable, sustainable while executing on a very solid business plan.”