While the old adage says there’s nothing new under the sun, the new decade brings fresh takes on traditional menu items while ethnic, vegan, and local ingredients make farther inroads into the quick-serve culinary scene.
In the fourth annual QSR Chef Survey, the industry’s top kitchen professionals explain what frugal fatigue means for your concept’s menu and what previously popular menu trends have fallen from grace. Some of their answers may surprise you—Is quinoa really the next “it” ingredient? And does bacon deserve to be on the most loved and the most hated list at the same time?—but you can’t find this insight anywhere else.
Click on the questions below to see what our chef panel said.
“Signature dipping sauces can add more exotic flavors and make sharing with friends even more fun.”—General Mills Foodservice Culinary Center Chefs
“They want rich and intensely flavorful smaller-sized items such as dessert or appetizer samplers.”—Chris Martone, Executive Chef, Subway
“Consumers want taste, texture, and authenticity.”—Jim Villemaire, Director, Research & Development, FOCUS Brands
“Nori. It’s commonly used in sushi but many are discovering that it is delicious eaten plain.”—Joe Cerniglia, Director, Culinary Innovation, Villa Enterprises
“Consumers want mini meals, snacks like a giant meatball filled with mushroom ragout.”—Susan Edwards, Director, Culinary, Cryovac
“The First Lady’s childhood obesity push will garner most of the attention for the next few years. It’s a wait-and-see situation. The country will see if the push will actually impact the kids menu.”—Patrick Fox, Chef, Owner, Cava Greens
“It seems only a short matter of time until the standard ‘kiddie menu’ becomes an awkward relic of the past.”—Joe Cerniglia, Director, Culinary Innovation, Villa Enterprises
“Decrease portion sizes.”—Chris Martone, Executive Chef, Subway
“Kids want fun and interesting food that is familiar.”—Carron Harris, Vice President, Product Development, Papa Murphy’s
“Nutrition will be the key in the kids segment. Heavily breaded, fried, and processed foods are becoming less acceptable by the day.”—Jim Villemaire, Director, Research & Development, FOCUS Brands
“We will see a shift from soda and carbonated products as the kids meal option to healthier drink choices.”—Joan Scharff, Executive Director, Brand and Menu Strategy, Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes