Posted by Colleen Carey on March 11th, 2016


The health craze and the fact that the local economy seems to be thriving are some of the forces behind the latest food trends. Restaurant goers want to eat better and their wallets allow them to do so. Check out these 8 trends that, if followed, can make your menu a win-win for you and your customers.

Local is Growing

Eating local has become trendy because of the benefits it has and the good feeling it brings to customers. By eating local, there is less time from ground to plate, which makes for better flavor and quality. Local farms and manufacturers are doing well, which creates more jobs and more opportunity for local business. People want to eat local because it makes them feel like they are doing good for the community just by going out to eat. Jacqueline’s Gourmet Cookies is a local manufacturer that creates decadent and delicious cookies. They also have an ALL NATURAL line! Which brings me to our next point:

No Harm to Nature

GMOs are genetically modified organisms. This is basically the altering of the make up of foods, mainly plant based foods. This can create toxins and allergens in the foods we eat, which is why the NON-GMO and organic movement has become so big. People like to have the option to go out to eat and also feeling like they are doing their body good, so including NON-GMO items will be satisfying to customers, and even to those who aren’t typically one to choose an organic option.

A Buzz from Down the Street

There are tons of local breweries across New Hampshire and beyond. Customers are choosing the specialty beers and local options because it, again, supports the local economy, but it also gives them more options. The big guys don’t give us as much option, flavor, and richness as the local guys, and people are now into trying to new things, especially the younger crowd. Because the local economy is doing well, people are willing to spend the few bucks more on specialty beers.

The Birth of Beertails

It’s safe to say that Bud Lite might have started this trend with their
“beer-itas” that combine their beer and juice flavors, but many restaurants are also hoping on this beer cocktail trend because it allows the customer to have the best of both worlds in one glass. This is certainly popular with women who dine out because it can dull down the stronger tasting beers and still have that attractive fruity look. This guide is a great start, but the combinations are truly endless. Monin creates dozens of delicious flavor syrups that will help you create the best tasting drinks!

Saying No to Gluten

Whether people are gluten free by choice or because they have an intolerance or even celiac disease, gluten free options are so important to include on your menu nowadays. Having gluten free items on your menu will create a safe feeling for those with celiac disease or a high intolerance. Gluten free customers will keep coming back if they know they can find something tasty and in line with their diets. Even just the people that I know that are gluten free only eat at a handful of restaurants because they know it’s safe for them. Bringing in the gluten free customers also brings in their children, spouses, and friends along with them too. Roland Foods offers many gluten free sauces, spices, and ingredients that are the base of thousands of dishes!

Got Dairy Free?

Much like being gluten free, being dairy free has become a huge trend, whether it’s by choice or for health reasons. Having lactose free or dairy free options, like coconut and almond milk, in your beverage and dessert menus will attract more people who typically wouldn’t order a mud slide or ice cream sundae because it goes against their diet.

The Froyo Craze

The many chains seen across the country with the self service frozen yogurt have made froyo so attractive. Frozen yogurt is trendy because it is different than the norm and healthier compared to ice cream. Although it is still full of sugar and calories, customers can feel a little less guilty when they order frozen yogurt over ice cream, and they are more likely to do so. Gifford’s Ice Cream creates a variety of delicious frozen yogurts, and they’re made right in Maine!

A Dash of Heat

Buffalo has become super trendy because it gives the perfect amount of heat without being over-powering and it goes with so many things – salad, pizza, tortilla chips, and really boosts the flavor. Adding buffalo chicken to something simple, like salad, allows you to up the price and the item becomes much more attractive. Mac and cheese is one of the cheapest things to make and the most basic menu item, but throwing in some buffalo chicken allows you to up the price and it makes it more appealing, especially for adults who don’t typically order plain mac and cheese. We love the hot buffalo wing sauce from French’s! Check out their recipes here.

Update your menus with these 8 trends in mind to appeal to more customers, especially millennials who like to follow trends and try new things. Your customers will be happy and they’ll keep coming back when they find out your place is the place that has what the whole group wants!