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Mise En Place: Streamlining and Efficiency for Commercial Foodservice

Mise En Place - Streamlining and Efficiency for Commercial Foodservice

Life in a commercial kitchen can be fast, hectic, and stressful.

Having a well-stocked and organized kitchen can go a long way to ensure the kitchen's smooth operation, which will ultimately lead to happier guests and greater profitability. One way that commercial foodservice operations can optimize for efficiency is by preparing stations with mise en place best practices.

What is Mise En Place?

Most lovers of food will agree that cooking is an art, and it requires the same amount of intentionality that a painter would bring to a creation. Mise en place is a French term that translates to "to set up" or "to put things into place." In practice, mise en place is the preparation of food and organization of equipment before a chef begins to cook. Mise en place serves a crucial role in the cooking process, similar to an artist who sets up his palette with different hues of paint before beginning to work on a canvas.

It is unclear how long mise en place has been around in the culinary world, but it likely dates back to the late 1800s. Regardless of when it originated, it is a strategy that chefs take incredibly seriously. Some go so far as to call it a religion, while others have it tattooed on their bodies.

An effective mise en place strategy allows culinary professionals to coordinate labor and materials while promoting focus and self-discipline. To get the maximum benefit out of mise en place, a chef should be able to navigate his or her workstation blindfolded.

Preparing Mise En Place

Every chef in a commercial kitchen will have their own strategy for executing mise en place. At its core, however, this plan will center on ensuring that kitchen tools and ingredients are prepared and organized in the most efficient way to prepare food.

The first step in creating a mise en place plan is to prepare a list. The list should include all the steps, ingredients, and tools necessary to execute the kitchen's tasks. It should detail prep tasks necessary for execution of the dishes.

Next comes organization and preparation. While the exact preparation will depend on the menu, it could include:

  • Gathering and organizing all cooking implements, such as mixing pools, knives, and pans;
  • Washing, peeling, and chopping vegetables;
  • Trimming and portioning meat;
  • Deboning and filleting fish;
  • Measuring spices;
  • Portioning liquids such as broth

Finally, mise en place should include a focus on cleanliness. An organized station will allow chefs to clean as they go.  This ensures that all tools and implements are clean and accessible when they are needed.

Benefits of Mise En Place

The most critical benefit of mise en place is its ability to bring efficiencies to commercial kitchens. Some of the ways mise en place maximizes efficiency include:

  • Planning work in advance: Preparing ingredients and work spaces allow chefs to spot any items that are missing or low in inventory and can plan necessary modifications ahead of time;
  • Streamline the work process: Having all items for a dish prepared and in one location reduces the amount of time a chef must spend moving about the kitchen;
  • Promoting ownership: In a kitchen with multiple stations, each chef can feel in control of and take ownership over the preparation of their station; and
  • Keeping things clean: The theory of "clean as you go" is important in many professional kitchens. Having an organized station allows chefs to more effectively plan for cleaning throughout the cooking process.

Institute Mise En Place in Your Operation

If you are looking to institute or improve the mise en place method in your foodservice operation, Lakeside has the equipment that will allow you to create the most effective and efficient workspaces. Our products including action stationsutility carts, and stationary and mobile kitchen support equipment – all which can be configured to optimize the flow of a commercial kitchen. Contact us today to find out how we can help or check out more on our mise en place cart below.

 

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The Importance of Flexibility in Foodservice

Flexibility is a great way to create happy customers, and it's an even better way to increase profits.

All across the landscape of food and beverage, we're seeing certain types of operations go beyond their traditional services as they look for greater potential. C-stores are becoming more like coffee shops. Coffee shops are gaining fast casual characteristics. Fast casual restaurants are taking on more fine-dining type elements. And all across our industry, cross over is becoming commonplace.

Essentially, it's up to operators to think outside the box. How are they doing this? For starters, they're rethinking common conceptions about food and beverage service times and are coming up with some creative alternatives.

Just because an operation thrives as a high-end coffee shop during the day doesn't mean it has to close its doors at night. A serving cart that provides pastries and cereals for breakfast can also double as a dessert bar at night. Omelet stations for brunch can shift out their service to a pasta station at night. That coffee shop we mentioned? What if it doubled as a cocktail bar at night?

The key here is flexibility -- flexibility in thought, flexibility in concept, flexibility in execution, and the flexibility in the equipment it takes to pull it all off.

MENU VERSATILITY

When it comes to flexible serving options, the first thing to consider is the ability to serve multiple types of menu items from the same location. This means a given piece of real estate can be attractive to customers and guests for greater periods of time. This is the ultimate in flexibility and profitability.

MOBILITY

The next step in flexibility is having the ability to take foods and beverages to the guest instead of the guest needing to come to the operator. Mobile serving stations are an easy way to transform the point-of-sale from point-to-point.

USABILITY

The final aspect of flexibility is to find equipment that is known for its usability. How easy is it to transform a serving cart from breakfast service to lunch? Are carts easy to move? How long does it take to clean? What about service and maintenance? The bottom line is flexibility is only implemented by staff members, so equipment needs to be easy to use.

MISE EN PLACE

For the ultimate in flexibility, consider the Lakeside Mise En Place cart.  It easily transitions from a back-of-house helper to a front-of-house money maker.  Explore ideas and get inspired with more information here.

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An Easy Way to Increase Beverage Sales on Your Patio or Veranda

An Easy Way to Increase Beverage Sales on Your Patio or Veranda

We’ve pretty much all been there. You’re flying across the country, you need to use the restroom, the seatbelt light goes off, but then you’re stuck in place behind the drink cart.

In this sense, the drink cart gets a bad reputation, but it doesn’t have to be like that. The reality is, drink carts and mobile bars are a great way to bring hospitality and service directly to the customer while increasing profits for the operation. But to fully bake this concept, let’s think about it from each perspective:

Mobile Drink Carts from the Customer Perspective

As we’ve mentioned before, tableside service provides a great experience for diners. It’s engaging. It allows for a more informed selection. It’s fun!

When a drink cart or mobile bar is rolled to the tableside, it allows consumers to view the different types of spirits that are available. They can check out the garnishes or the glassware. And they can enjoy the experience of seeing a trained bartender or mixologist create a magnificent concoction right there at the table.

Perhaps the most important factor for diners, though, is the convenience a mobile beverage cart can provide. Astute bartenders who operate rolling bars can see when a table is in need of refreshing and literally be right there within a matter of seconds. Another round without having to get up? Great! Another round without having to wait for a server who then has to wait for the bar who then has to wait for the server to return! Even better!

Mobile Drink Carts from the Operator Perspective

Those benefits and conveniences for guests translate directly to profit potential for operators. There’s no better way to say it.

As everyone knows in the bar and beverage industry, time is money. When a bartender can actually roam from table to table keeping an eye on who needs a refresher, it decreases the time customers have to wait for their next beverage. This can lead to more frequent orders, which translates to profits.

Mobile bars are also a great form of advertising. What do you think newly-arrived guests will first notice about your dining room as a cart full of cocktails moves across the room from table to table? Almost certainly, they’ll be waiting for that cart to arrive to see what the offerings are.

Mobile drink carts can also help an operation expand its space. As we mentioned, the bar is often the most profitable part of an operation, but what if the physical bar is limited by space? Mobile bars can help increase output potential and better maximize reach. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a restaurant with a small bar to sell one-third of all it’s bar sales from a couple of roaming drink carts. If the bar is typically the most profitable center of an entire restaurant or foodservice operation, why not bring the bar to the customer?

Lastly, there’s the ability to bring the type of bar that’s most profitable to the guest. Instead of putting cheap wells on a roving beverage cart, operators have the ability to hand-select spirits, wines, and other offerings that are most profitable. This creates an enormous upselling opportunity, and if it's a house-made speciality cocktail, it's a marketing opportunity, as well.

Consider the Lakeside Mise En Place cart for use in beverage sales and tableside service.  The versatility allows for an easy transition from front-of-house to back-of-house.  Explore more ideas below.

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Make Your Brunch Service Memorable with an Omelet Station

Make Your Brunch Service Memorable with an Omelet Station

A breakfast buffet can be one of the most anticipated and enjoyable aspects when staying at a hotel.

In fact, it’s one of the things that can help differentiate a hospitality-driven property from house-sharing companies like Airbnb and VRBO. Add an omelet station to that buffet, and guests just might think they’ve found hospitality heaven.

Why?

Diners can enjoy a customized experience as they choose with the ingredients they most crave. The omelet chef can not only expertly cooks superb omelets while guests watch, but he or she can also chat with guests, offer them true hospitality, and even offer tips about local attractions and activities.

Omelet stations bring breakfast dining to a whole new level.

What is an Omelet Station?

An omelet station is a breakfast hub where guests can take advantage of customized omelets cooked the way they like them. It is breakfast without the boring, service without the fuss. Omelet stations are ideally attended by a friendly omelet chef who takes the time to listen to the diner's preferences. The chef then expertly prepares the perfect omelet filled with the ingredients guests love.

The options for omelet fillings are limitless, with creative combinations ready to explore and savor. The chef can easily conjure up a meat-filled wonder stuffed with flavorful bacon, sausage, or even grilled shrimp. Vegetable-lovers are treated to a variety of choices including avocado or artichoke hearts. Classic cheese omelets can always be whipped up using a choice of interesting herbs and cheeses.

Of course, the best omelet stations require state-of-the-art equipment to succeed, and Lakeside Foodservice carries everything you need to help build an efficient and attractive omelet station that can help differentiate an operation from other options. And when you provide a satisfying experience, people will hear about it.

A BREAKFAST TO BRAG ABOUT:

Hoteliers can get a competitive advantage by making sure their omelet station stands out. It's easy to have guests raving about their breakfast experience long after they are gone by taking a few simple steps. A top-of-the-line omelet station helps boost ratings and encourages positive reviews.

Offer a Variety - People like choices and variety in a breakfast buffet, and offering a comprehensive menu selection can make all the difference. Chefs should be at hand to guide guests as they decide what combination of ingredients they want in the omelet. The chef should be knowledgeable about special diet requirements including gluten-free and soy-based options.

Offer a Greeting - Great food and a creative selection are only part of what turns breakfast guests into happy, repeat customers. A warm smile and a hearty morning greeting make guests feel welcomed and comfortable. The omelet station and its chef should be a friendly reminder of everything that is good about hotel dining.

Offer Ambiance - Helping guests to start their day is also about presentation. Soft joyful music in the background along with a clean and colorful station can set a positive mood. Using special plates and sparkling silverware can enhance the breakfast ambiance. Ingredient displays should be as cheerful as the chef creating a happy experience sure to bring the guests back for dinner.

Offer Knowledge - Good omelet-makers are not only skillful at assembling the perfect egg masterpiece, but they are also a wealth of local and venue information. They can talk about local traditional recipes or advise guests about low-calorie food choices. They should be as much prepared to answer questions about hotel operations as they are about community events and activities.

Benefits of an Omelet Station

There is something satisfying about watching a chef prepare what you are about to eat. Guests love the chance to interact with the cook knowing what ends up on the plate will be hot and fresh. The transparency of open cook-to-order omelet stations gives guests peace of mind while providing entertainment and the opportunity for hotels to shine.

Lakeside Foodservice has over 70 years of experience providing innovative and efficient equipment to the industry. Our friendly team of professionals offers customized and modified solutions to fit individual challenges and needs. Lakeside proudly manufactures all of its products in the U.S.A. Contact us anytime and let us know how we can be at your service.

With over 70 years of experience, Lakeside is perfectly situated to help implement an omelet station for brunch service. Lakeside offers a diverse product line that supports all your needs, including storing, heating, cooling, and display. We focus on collaboration with customers to find the perfect product solutions.

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Mastering the Basics of Bussing

If you run a professional kitchen, you are well aware that a smooth flow of staff can make or break a successful evening of service.

From avoiding tickets getting hung up in the kitchen to ensuring there are clean plates, every individual's contribution is critical to success. One key role that can often go overlooked is the busser. Read on to better understand the critical role of the busser and to pick up a few tips to help staff members successfully clear tables and improve customer experience.

Bussing: A Critical Component

Every person operating in a restaurant contributes to the success of the group, and this includes the busser. They serve a number of important functions that require experience and training.

Focus on Service

Happy guests are a must for a successful restaurant, and bussers are on the frontline of preserving the guest experience. When guests arrive, they should be met with a clean table and quickly provided a glass of water. The water should be replenished as needed, and guests shouldn't be left with dirty dishes in front of them. These are all obvious ways that bussers contribute to positive guest experiences.

There are less obvious ways that bussers can contribute – or detract – from the customer experience as well. Leaving tubs of dirty dishes in the line of sight of guests isn't appetizing. If a busser is frazzled, this contributes frenetic energy to what should be a welcoming atmosphere.

Regardless of how your establishment employs bussers, there is no doubt that having a skilled and highly trained bussing staff will elevate guests' dining experience.

Encourage Kitchen Flow

While keeping guests happy is of vital importance, it isn't the only way bussers are important to a restaurant kitchen. Bussers are responsible for delivering an essential item to foodservice: flatware and dinnerware. Restaurants need to optimize their budgets, which means they can't keep a never-ending supply of dishes and flatware in stock.

Bussers are responsible for getting dirty dishes back to dishwashers, who then get dishes cleaned and back in circulation. If bussers aren't appropriately staffed or trained to efficiently move dishes, this could cause a backlog for the entire kitchen.

Tips for Training Bussers

One of the most important factors in efficient bussing is having well-trained staff. Make sure your staff is trained with the following in mind:

  • Have a restaurant-wide plan. Be clear on what your establishment's position is on bussing. Must all guests' plates be cleared at one time, or should they be cleared as each guest finishes? Is there an order of priority in which dishes should be cleared?
  • Read the table. While bussers may not interact with guests as much as the wait staff, they still need to read guest preferences. While guests don't want to feel rushed, they also don't want to sit with empty dishes for an extended period of time. Work with your bussers to help them pick up on guest cues to avoid guests feeling rushed or ignored.
  • Communication is key. Bussers need to feel comfortable with the rest of the staff so the entire staff can communicate concerns or needs. 
  • Understand the basics. Bussers need to be well-versed in basic restaurant service skills, such as folding napkins, when silverware should be replaced, whether plates should be removed on a tray, and how to properly crumb a table.

Having a highly-operating bussing staff will ease the burdens for the rest of the kitchen.

Find the Right Equipment

Even if your bussing staff is well-trained, they can't operate at the highest level without the right equipment. Lakeside offers personalized solutions that help foodservice directors manage their responsibilities by providing knowledgeable experts to advise on products and equipment. Lakeside can help your team select the best bussing products to optimize your kitchen experience. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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The Benefits of Theater Cooking

Theater cooking and open kitchens are becoming a prominent and popular feature in the foodservice industry.

There are many ways that restaurants can incorporate elements of theater cooking, from a completely open kitchen to implementing action stations throughout the restaurant. Here are some benefits to incorporating theater cooking into a dining establishment, as well as some considerations for making this happen.

Highlighting the Dining Experience

Theater cooking brings with it a number of benefits, all of which can result in increased engagement and satisfaction from patrons. As younger demographics place more and more value on experiences, these items will become more and more important.

Provide an Experience

It is not surprising to see experiential dining increase in popularity given the focus Millennials place on dining out and documenting their dining experiences. Theater dining allows visitors to get more than just food for their money. They’re able to engage with the chefs, learn a bit about cooking, and have easy and engaging conversation topics to share with their fellow diners.

The icing on the cake is that theater dining makes for great social media content – for owners and patrons alike. Simply put, with open-style kitchens, dining can be as much about the entertainment as it is about the food.

Be Transparent

Theater dining is more than an experience. It also provides diners assurance that their food is being cooked in a skilled manner and in a clean environment. It also increases engagement between the chef and diners. A study has found that by allowing chefs to view the diners, they become more committed to providing quality food. The ability of chefs to feel the appreciation of the diners increases the quality of the food they produce. 

Save Space

Adopting an open kitchen can provide valuable, additional real estate, which can be critical given the costs of purchasing or renting a restaurant space. Open kitchens eliminate the wasted spaces between the kitchen and dining spaces, which can potentially lead to additional seating around the kitchen. This space-saving can mean the ability to serve many additional diners during each service.

Enhance Appetites

It has been found that seeing and smelling food can increase an individual's appetite. Putting your restaurant’s great food front and center will allow diners to be tantalized by the delicious smells and tempted by all the great food they see being prepared in the kitchen. 

Setting Up Your Open Kitchen

While it’s clear that theater dining can bring valuable benefits to a restaurant, setting up an open kitchen or action stations requires different equipment considerations than a traditional restaurant kitchen. You will need to decide whether to open up the main cooking area or create smaller action stations throughout the restaurant that feature specific food preparations. Operators also need to decide where to locate dishwashing and other functions that aren’t desirable for display.

Once the format of the kitchen is determined, the next step is to analyze the types of foods that will be prepared along with what equipment is required to execute the menu. For example, pizza, bread, and pastries could be well-served by a wood burning oven. A wok range could service a large variety of cooking styles, including Asian, Middle Eastern, and Italian. If you are serving Mexican or traditional American food, a grill or griddle might be a better option. Be sure to consider any regulations for your local areas, such as sanitation and ventilation. Just because you open up the kitchen, this doesn't relieve you of complying with these requirements.

Action stations can also provide a similar type of open-cooking presentation. The difference between action stations and bringing the back-of-the-house to the front is one of mobility. It’s hard to move a kitchen, but action stations can be relocated.

Lakeside Can Help:

With over 70 years of experience, Lakeside is perfectly situated to help you create a theater dining experience perfect for your restaurant. Lakeside offers a diverse product line that supports all your needs, including storing, heating, cooling, and display. We focus on collaboration with customers to find the perfect product solutions.

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Top 10 Current Chef-Focused Trends

Each year, the National Restaurant Association conducts a survey to identify the hottest culinary trends.

This year's survey tells us in no uncertain terms that sustainability, hyper-locally sourced foods, plant-based foods, and vegetable-focused dishes are some of the nation's hottest food trends. Below, we've provided the NRA's top-10 list of current chef-focused trends which restaurants are following to meet customer demands for sustainability, nutrition, taste, and personal choice.

1. Cannabis/CBD oil-infused drinks

According to the "What's Hot Culinary Forecast," 77% of the American Culinary Federation chefs placed drinks infused with cannabis or CBD as the top trend. And it's anticipated that this trend will only become more popular in the future as more states legalize cannabis.

2. Cannabis/CBD oil-infused foods

For some time, cannabis-enhanced foods were limited to desserts. Now, however, chefs are experimenting with all sorts of healthy options across the menu, made from cannabis-infused ingredients such as honey, nuts, coffee, and all-natural teas.

3. Zero-waste cooking

Zero-waste cooking ranks as the third top trend overall for 2019. Each day, chefs are finding more ways to use all parts of a food product, particularly plant-based items. As the NRA reports, chefs are now using coffee grounds to flavor ice cream as a way of reducing food waste. They're even using cabbage butts in stir-fries, not letting even the smallest usable portion of a plant-based food go to waste.

4. Globally-inspired breakfast dishes 

Chefs are searching the world in person and on the internet to find inspiration for breakfast dishes. Rice, soup, vegetable-and-bean bowls (like the Hawaiian poke bowl, the traditional Latin American rice and beans, or Asian rice dishes), are becoming popular for breakfast. And not only are they high in nutrition, but they're always carefully prepared and made into a great presentation from to appeal to today's highly visual consumer.

5. Global flavors in kids' meals

Chefs are taking inspiration from spices and flavors from North, West, and East African cuisine, Latin America and Spain, and Asian countries to influence kids' meals. Turmeric, ginger, and Asian spices (particularly Korean and Filipino flavors) are showing up on children's menus.

6. Hyper-local food sources

Chefs are going as far as using plant-based foods that come right from the restaurant's own gardens. When that's not possible, they rely on local farmers' markets and other hyper-local food sources so that the farm-to-table connection is absolutely transparent to today's consumer.

7. New cuts of meat 

New cuts of meat such as shoulder tender, Merlot cut, or oyster-cut steak made the top trending spot for the last two years according to the NRA. These once "secret" cuts are now becoming more common, although the NRA notes that they are starting to drop in popularity this year as plant-based dishes continue to be on the rise.

8. Vegetable-centered dishes

In 2019, chefs don't believe that you have to be vegan or vegetarian to enjoy a good rice and bean dish made with an exquisite mixture of spices and visually appealing fresh vegetables. After trying some of these attractive and tasty vegetable-centric meals, many meat-eating customers will think about eating vegetarian at least a couple of times a week.

9. Fast-casual concepts

Fast-food chains are consulting some of the country's most renown chefs to come up with their hallmark non-meat feature. Burger King's Impossible Burger is one key example. In these carefully crafted dishes, you'll find global spices combined with plant-based foods in the form of veg burgers and salads, or meats prepared in innovative ways.

10. Craft beers, artisan, and locally produced spirits

Craft and artisan alcoholic beverages that are produced locally have been the rage for some time, and continue to be popular in 2019. Chefs frequently have their own favorites, if not their own special house brew.

These are just a few of the new innovations which chefs are making available throughout the food service industry. For more information on macro and micro trends facing the foodservice industry, download our full Trends e-Report.

2019 Foodservice Trends Report CTA

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6 Things You Can Learn from Thomas Keller

We've all heard the story before about the famous chef who got his or her start as a dishwasher. Even the country's most decorated chef can tell that story.

In a recent article in Forbes, Chef Thomas Keller of French Laundry and Per Se fame sat down to discuss his past and how it has carried him into the future. Like so many in the foodervice industry -- and even those in the workforce at large -- Keller worked his way up from a small, entry-level position, and he learned a lot along the way.

Starting as a dishwasher, or the "dish pit" as Keller calls it, he put in his time and learned some valuable lessons that eventually led him to culinary immortality. Those lessons were summarized by Shep Hyken in the Forbes article.

STAY ORGANIZED

Even in the "dish pit," it's important to develop and adhere to a process. When things get busy, you'll be happy you have a system in place. The other option is to get behind and fail. Know where everything belongs. Even dishwashers can have a system of mise place.

BE EFFICIENT

Rooted in organization, efficiency is often data-driven. How many plates can you clean in an hour? Being efficient is to get the most out of what you have, and this will ultimately save you time, effort, and money.

LISTEN FOR FEEDBACK

Feedback is much more than just positive or negative affirmations. It can also be a lesson as to how to become more organized and more efficient. Feedback isn't just external, either. With an honest and critical eye, we can also self-evaluate in ways that will lead to greater success. Be disciplined enough to be honest when you can do better work.

BE CONSISTENT

Rituals are an opportunity to define habits that are rooted in discipline. Doing the same things day in, day out provides an element of consistency that can translate to how well we do our work. There's even ritual in the process of dishwashing.

RINSE AND REPEAT

Both literally and figuratively, repetition is critical -- and it's different from ritual. Repetition is the act of doing the same thing over and over again, the actual task. Ritual is a larger set of processes in which a task is repeated. As Keller says, many say practice makes perfect, but "perfect practice makes perfect" might be closer to the truth.

BE A TEAM PLAYER

Every single staff member is part of a team. Everyone depends on everyone else, even the dishwasher. Especially the dishwasher. Though a clean plate in a fine dining establishment like The French Laundry might be expected and often unnoticed, you can be sure a dirty plate would garner some attention. Everyone has an important job to do.

These are lessons for the kitchen and for life.

Every foodservice operation, every organization, and individual within would be wise to consider these nuggets from Thomas Keller.

 

2019 Foodservice Trends Report CTA

 

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A Quick Look at 2019’s Flavor Trends

A Quick Look at 2019's Flavor Trends

What flavors are people looking for in 2019? And who are the people looking for them? Let's take a closer look.

Thanks to the great research done by our friends at Foodable Labs, we have data compiled from nearly one million social media conversations between chefs, operators, brands, and influencers.

Based on these conversations, Foodable Labs was able to determine the top flavor profiles and cuisines of 2019, and because we love trends so much here at Lakeside, we wanted to break down those flavor trends for you here.

ASIAN FOODS ARE STILL POPULAR.

Over the last few years, we've seen a rise in popularity of Asian foods, especially the foods of Korea and the Philippines. In terms of flavors, options like hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger, and chili sauce are leading the way. And when they looked at menus, Foodable Labs found an increase in these flavors at a rate of 31.3 percent for independent restaurants and 29.5 percent in fast-casual operations.

SPEAKING OF HOT, IT'S HOT.

According to Foodable Labs, the jalapeño has been replaced by the habanero as the most popular pepper, with an increase on menus of more than 20 percent. "Hot" isn't just limited to the Scoville scale. It can also include different types of "heat" such as the type of sinus-clearing burn associated with horseradish, which is also gaining in popularity.

WHAT ABOUT A SWEET TOOTH?

Looking for something sweet? According to the report, we're craving sweets more now than ever. When it comes to true natural flavors, trends lean towards fruits such as mango, passion fruit and avocado (and yes, avocado is a fruit). As far as desserts go, salted caramel led the way, with other popular dishes including chocolate-topped items and anything with hot fudge.

PEOPLE LOVE PLANTS.

Consumers are looking for more plant-based menu options. There was a 23.5 percent increase in plant-based menu consumption in Millennials and a 21.9 percent increase in consumers between the ages of 45 and 55. These are the highest growing menu considerations amongst the main menu sectors.

Foodable Labs' plant-based menu statistics confirm our research as well. As part of our 2019 College and University Foodservice Trends Report, we detailed a consumer shift to plant-based foods out of a desire to reduce traditional meat consumption. Flavor innovations are feeding a rising flexitarian population, and consumers are now more responsible in their eating habits (from both a personal health and environmentally sustainability standpoint) by choosing plant-based proteins.

 

In our 2019 College and University Foodservice Trends Report, Lakeside dug deep and uncovered the 7 most popular trends we expect to see this year, most of which go beyond the flavor trends mentioned above. Check out these 2019 foodservice trends by downloading our free report.

Lakeside and Multiteria have researched seven top trends that will be important to colleges and universities in the 2019-2020 school year.  Download your free copy today to stay on top of the latest ideas and innovations that will help you maintain a first-class foodservice operation!


Attend a brief 30 min. mini-webinar on the "7 Top Trends in C&U Foodservice!"

Join Nancy Lane on Sept. 19th for this quick, jam-packed webinar - 20 mins. content with 10 mins. Q&A.  The seven trends include:

  1. Sustainability
  2. Plant-Forward
  3. Labor Efficiencies
  4. Transparency
  5. New Normal
  6. Food Insecurity
  7. Infusing Digital

Click below and sign up today!

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The One Reason Food Waste Reduction Is So Popular

As good as it is for everyone involved, food waste reduction isn't as altruistic as everyone makes it out to be.

Yes, sustainability is one of our top 2019 foodservice trends (just 1 of 7 in our downloadable report). Yes, reducing food waste is one method to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. And, of course, we want to do everything we can to effectively and efficiently deliver food into the hands of students and customers. But there's another reason college and university foodservice operations across North America are focusing on food waste reduction.

Money.

The reality is, we waste roughly 1.3 billion tons of the world's food supply annually. This accounts for a loss of nearly $990 billion. The United States wastes $160 billion of that total, accounting for as much as 40 percent of our food.

That's right. In the United States, we waste over one-third of our food. Imagine if we threw a $20 bill out the window every time we withdrew $50 from the ATM. That's essentially what is happening with our food supply, and as much as restaurants and foodservice operations want to do the right thing for both humanity and the environment, throwing away money is an even bigger reason to reduce food waste.

According to the non-profit organization, ReFED, which focuses on reducing food waste in the United States, there's a huge payoff when operations invest in sustainable measures. In their 2016 Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste by 20 Percent, they detail a benefit-to-cost ratio that is staggering:

For every $1 invested in food waste reduction, the savings potential can be as much as $8.

That's an incredible number. While operators know reducing food waste helps fight hunger, protect the environment, and even attracts important customer bases like Millennials and Gen Z who demand sustainable practices, the profit potential is enormous and appealing. Here are a few things to consider for your college and university foodservice operation:

RECONSIDER YOUR SERVICE.

Smaller plate sizes, smaller serving sizes, and even trayless dining are an easy way to reduce food waste. According to ReFED, smaller plates can reduce food waste by as much as 17 percent. On the buffet line, trayless dining reduces food waste as well. Lastly, reconsidering your menu can also have positive impacts when it comes to reducing food waste. To borrow a phrase, foodservice operations should "use the whole hog." For example, serve both the beet and the beet greens, thus eliminating some waste. Allowing guests to customize their meals should also be a consideration. By serving exactly what a customer requests, operators will reduce waste.

PLAN BETTER.

More accurate inventory management and production that are rooted in data can help save an operation thousands of dollars annually. According to ReFED, waste tracking and analytics can have the biggest business impact, helping the restaurant industry increase profits by as much as $266 million per year. Using this data to better plan for ordering and production schedules can help prevent overproduction, which is a big contributor to food waste.

DONATE UNWANTED FOOD.

Yep, giving food to those in need is a good thing for obvious reasons. There can also be a financial benefit too. Donating unwanted food is a recovery-based way to reduce food waste that can also provide your operation some tax incentives.

Reducing food waste is a sustainability initiative which is 1 of 7 key trends we cite in our 2019 College and University Foodservice Trends Report.

Lakeside and Multiteria have researched seven top trends that will be important to colleges and universities in the 2019-2020 school year.  Download your free copy today to stay on top of the latest ideas and innovations that will help you maintain a first-class foodservice operation!