The Future of Commercial Foodservice in 2024
Without a doubt, we've seen some significant changes during the past several years. From staffing shortages and supply chain issues to high inflation and the presence of high-tech innovations, where we've been will definitely impact where we're headed in the next 12 months.
Here at Eaton Marketing, we consider this to be the fun stuff because we not only like to support the changing dynamics of the foodservice industry, but we also love to initiate them. So let's take a look at the future of commercial foodservice in 2024!
Charting the Course for Commercial Foodservice in 2024
The industry is in a much different place now than even a few years ago. Consumers are savvier than ever, and their tastes are changing to reflect a more diversified social landscape. Today's diners want quality and efficiency, and more than anything, they also want value. How can operators lead the way and capitalize on these trends? With innovation and forward-thinking solutions and processes that help put today's food trends in the center of the plate and beverage trends in the glass.
2024 Food Trends
Revamping Menus With Spices
With the world becoming increasingly globalized, different cuisines from around the world are gaining popularity. Korean BBQ has particularly gained traction lately, and many big cities now have restaurants that offer dishes from every corner of the globe. The chefs at Eaton are currently experimenting with Korean spices in both test kitchens. So, why not spend some time with us and sample some of these delicious dishes? Schedule some time in one of our test kitchens!
So, chefs must capitalize on this trend by incorporating more exotic spices and seasonings. Salt and pepper are no longer enough to satisfy modern customers. Instead, hot pepper, curry, tamarind, and other spices can tickle their tastebuds and keep them returning for more.
Global Fusions Shaping Menus
As more diverse foods become available, it's natural for staff to combine flavors and dishes in the commercial kitchen. Some common examples of global fusions include sushi burritos, wonton tacos, or kimchi quesadillas. Even chain restaurants are getting in on the action.
Chaos cooking (combining ingredients that may not often go together) is also starting to trend. Chefs are delivering unique options like tandoori spaghetti, al pastor sushi rolls, and other combinations that would have seemed bizarre in the past.
Embracing Plant-Based Meals
More consumers are embracing meat-free alternatives than ever before. Even though many people aren't necessarily becoming vegetarian or vegan, they see the value of regularly incorporating plant-based meals and ingredients. For example, vegan fish products are becoming more widespread, and many restaurants will offer a veggie burger or something similar to cater to modern tastes.
2024 Beverage Trends
Chilling Out With Coffee Trends
Coffee has always been a staple of modern society. Still, now consumers want colder varieties. Cold brew coffee is designed to be enjoyed over ice, and iced lattes and cappuccinos are practically everywhere. Best of all, it's easier for operators to stock cold pre-made coffees (in bottles or cans) instead of brewing a drink to order.
Navigating Healthy Hydration
Consumers are paying more attention to what they're putting in their bodies, and they want healthy and all-natural products. For example, exotic fruits, such as passion, dragon, and prickly pear, are becoming far more popular. Operators must focus on offering simple beverages that are either low-calorie or come from natural ingredients.
Exploring Fresh Beverage Flavors
One reason why exotic fruits are trending is that they're fresh and unique. Consumers want to avoid having soda, iced tea, and lemonade to drink with their meals. Bubble tea, elegant iced coffees, and frozen beverages are all becoming part of the culinary landscape. Customers want options, and they want to get excited about their drinks and main course.
Back of the House Trends
Food Waste Reductions
Running a commercial kitchen is more challenging today, thanks to changing customer tastes and a need for high-quality staff members. Another primary challenge is reducing food waste from cross-contamination, spoilage, or improper storage and handling. Even government agencies are working together to combat waste. While new regulations have yet to come out, foodservice operators may have to abide by new rules and recycle their food whenever possible instead of tossing it in the dumpster.
Cutting Edge Equipment
High technology has finally entered the foodservice industry, and operators are taking advantage of it wherever possible. Automation is a big trend that is expected to grow in 2024. More robots will be in the kitchen preparing and cooking food, and operators will likely utilize automated fryers, ovens, griddles, and more. Also, ventless equipment is trending because it takes up less space, works more efficiently, and doesn't require expensive infrastructure. So, operators can put equipment wherever there’s space and an electrical outlet.
High-tech solutions involve more than just new machinery. More establishments are starting to use data-driven analytics to streamline their operations and reduce labor and food costs. For example, connected kitchen platforms can allow operators to monitor, report on, and modify equipment activity in real time within the same Internet of Things (IoT) software system.