Tip Toe Back Into Innovation

Japanese classic chicken katsu

Comfort foods clearly dominated restaurant delivery and pick-up orders during 2020. Now that customers are back to in-house dining, they are seeking the meals they crave and/or cannot make at home, especially seafood and global cuisines.

  • Although it’s important to keep serving comforting favorites, you should start reseeding the menu with exciting ingredients and flavors.
  • Seafood, especially crudos like ceviche and poke, are rarely made in consumers’ kitchens. Diners want these dishes, particularly when paired with citrus, cilantro, and crunchy, shaved vegetables.
  • Portable sandwiches, crispy fried chicken, and tangy pickles are all big sellers on their own—why not combine them into the Japanese classic chicken katsu? This hand-held option combines nostalgic features with balanced textures and inspiring flavors.
  • Fresh herbs and edible petals are budget-friendly ways to add sophistication.

Diners are increasingly hyper-focused on high-protein and plant-based foods. Alongside all of the new-fangled, lab-based, cell-cultured options out there is the humble bean. A staple food for millenia, beans are being re-examined as a healthy, versatile ingredient worthy of menu inclusion.

  • Retro and heirloom recipes—like Southern succotash, French cassoulet, and Cajun red beans and rice—fit the bill for those in search of authenticity.
  • Most world cuisines incorporate some type of bean in their classic dishes. Think feijoada in Brazil, black beans and rice with plantains in Puerto Rico, and garbanzo beans in Israel. Modern interpretations of these recipes are packed with produce and herbs.
  • The creamy texture of mung beans is proving an ideal substitute for those that are eliminating soy from their diets.