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  1. Locally-Grown Produce
  2. Mini Desserts
  3. Asian-Inspired Cuisine
  4. Breakfast for Lunch/Dinner
  5. Healthy Entrées
  6. Tea
  7. Comfort Foods
  8. Customer-Choice Dishes
  9. Beer
  10. Small Mix & Match Entrées

Looking to make 2010 a brighter, more-profitable year than 2009?


By adding a few new items to your menu—or improving on a few of your existing offerings—you'll create buzz to get new customers in to your restaurant and entice your existing customers to find new favorites. Use our Top 10 Menu Trends list to quickly find the foods, beverages and meal ideas your restaurant will want to offer in 2010.

1. Locally-Grown Produce


Probably the hottest trend in foodservice right now is the use of locally-grown produce in restaurant dishes. Buying local helps to ensure you get the freshest produce possible and tells your customers that you actively invest in the local economy. Many restaurants have even started their own "backyard gardens" to help reduce food costs, eliminate delivery fees and draw in more environmentally-conscious customers.


Menu Recommendations:
Seasonal Dishes, Fresh Salads, Location-Inspired Entrées, Bright & Colorful Meals, Sustainable Foods

Produce Cleaning System Vegetable Choppers Cutting Boards

Produce Cleaning System

Vegetable Choppers

Cutting Boards


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2. Mini Desserts


Another hot trend for 2010 is variety in menu options, especially with desserts. By offering a number of mini desserts, you can cover a larger spectrum of dessert choices instead of just the standard cheesecake, baked cake or ice cream, helping to ensure that your diners can find at least one dessert option they like. Small dessert portions allow you to price them at a smaller price point, increasing the chance that your customers will order more than one dessert at a time.


Menu Suggestions:
Mini Cheesecakes, Cupcakes, Brownie Bites, Muffins, Mousse Served in Rocks or Shot Glasses

Cupcake Pans Shot Glass Dessert Dishes

Cupcake Pans

Shot Glasses

Dessert Dishes


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3. Asian-Inspired Cuisine


Asian cuisine is very versatile, benefiting your customer and your kitchen. Asian recipes are perfect for all types of diners because you can use the same Asian elements to create a number of different dishes: vegetarian, seafood, red meat, chicken, pork and more. Keep it fresh for 2010 by expanding that Asian flavor to foods that you wouldn't typically think of as Asian.

Menu Suggestions:
Oriental Sauces/Marinades, Ginger-Infused Cocktails, Sweet & Sour Boneless Chicken Wings, Stir Fry (using locally-grown produce), Sushi Rolls (with or without seafood elements)

Woks Sushi Cases PuPu Platters and Hibachis

Woks

Sushi Cases

PuPu Platters and Hibachis


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4. Breakfast for Lunch/Dinner


Who doesn't love eggs, pancakes, sausage and biscuits? These classic breakfast items are the perfect way to start your day, but in 2010, many diners will think they are also the perfect way to end your day. You can easily add breakfast basics to your menu since many items require just the ingredient itself (e.g. eggs, sausage). If you already offer "Breakfast Hours," consider extending the hours or eliminating them altogether.

Menu Suggestions:
Omelets, "Breakfast Scrambles," Pancakes, Biscuits, Waffles, Quiche, Crepes (can double as a dessert!)

Batter Dispensers Egg Rings Waffle Makers

Batter Dispensers

Egg Rings

Waffle Makers


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5. Healthy Entrées


With many states considering to pass a requirement for restaurants to list nutritional information to customers, healthy options will undoubtedly be an important part of your menu. A quick, simple change you can make is to recreate your existing menu items using ingredients that are lower in calories, fat, sodium or sugar.

Menu Suggestions:
Baked Chicken, Meatless Meals, Salads (as entrées), Steamed Vegetables, Fresh Produce

Steamers Roasting Pans Salad Dryers

Steamers

Roasting Pans

Salad Dryers


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6. Tea


Coffee still has the edge on being the most-ordered caffeinated beverage, but tea will gain some ground in 2010. According to a 2009 study by R&I Magazine, one-third of American diners have ordered iced tea while dining out in the past six months. While iced tea is more popular than hot tea, nearly 19% of women have ordered up a steaming cup of tea in the past six months.

Menu Suggestions:
Green Tea, Iced Tea, Tea Lattes, Fruit-Infused Teas (like raspberry, peach or pomegranate), Tea-Based Cocktails

Iced Tea Brewers Teapots Iced Tea Dispensers

Iced Tea Brewers

Teapots

Iced Tea Dispensers


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7. Comfort Foods


The addition of comfort foods to your menu will allow your diners to choose options that are reminiscent of some of their favorite home-cooked meals. The availability of comfort foods are the perfect answer for diners that want the taste of home cooking, but that don't have the time to prepare those meals themselves. Many recipes allow you to use more affordable cuts of meat (e.g. chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, whole chuck roll instead of New York strip steak) because longer cooking times (making meats more tender) and bold spices and ingredients (for highly flavorful results). Serve these up "Family-Style" by using large bowls and platters.

Menu Suggestions:
Braised Pork Shoulder, Chicken & Dumplings, Lamb Shanks, Hearty Beef Stew

Serving Bowls and Platters Handled Soup Bowls Braziers

Serving Bowls and Platters

Handled Soup Bowls

Braziers


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8. Customer-Choice Dishes


Make the customer happy, eliminate ordering mistakes and reduce the number of recipes you need to create by allowing your customers to tell you exactly what they want. List available ingredients in your menu or offer them in a cold or hot food bar. Once the diner selects the desired ingredients, all you have to do is cook them to order!

Menu Suggestions:
Pasta Bar (with a selection of meats, noodles, sauces), Salad Bar, Made-to-Order Omelets Station

Pasta Cookers Ramekins Cold Food Bars

Pasta Cookers

Ramekins

Cold Food Bars


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9. Beer


According to a 2008 study conducted by R&I Magazine, more than 25% of adults report ordering beer away from home at least once a week. In 2010, even more diners are expected to order beer while dining out. To make this already-popular trend even more attractive to your customers, consider revising your menu to include food and beer pairings. Diners are even more likely to order a frosty brew when you list a suggested beer pairing with each entrée.

Menu Suggestions:
Locally-Brewed Beers, Micro-Brewed Beers, Beer-Inspired Recipes (like Beer Batter Chicken, Beer Cheese Soup, Beer-Bases Sauces/Marinades), Seasonal Beers

Bottle Coolers Beer Mugs Draft Dispensers

Bottle Cooler

Beer Mugs

Draft Dispensers


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10. Small Mix & Match Entrées


Smaller entrées are ideal for diners on a budget and large groups of diners that wish to sample and share a variety of foods. Create new menu options that offer diners single elements of an entrée: single cut of meat, one serving of a vegetable or side salad/soup. Recreate your existing entrées by scaling down the size for a smaller version of the original.

Menu Suggestions:
Chicken Breast, Mashed Potatoes With a Kick (add spices, small pieces of meat or veggies to add more flavor than standard mashed potatoes, Half-Sized Dinner Salads, Petite Steaks

Small Dinner or Salad Plates Compartment Plates Rarebits

Small Dinner or Salad Plates

Compartment Plates

Rarebits


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Top 10 Restaurant Menu Items For 2010 - Central Restaurant Products

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