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Foodservice Industry: 2016 Wrap Up and New for 2017

In the year 2016, the restaurant industry has had many great trends . Of course as shown in previous years –some will graduate into the New Year while others will dwindle. In this guide we will discuss restaurant equipment, trends, methods introduced this year, and those you won’t want to miss in the New Year.

Where 2016 took the Restaurant Industry

Saving Time & Space

Restaurant professionals have always valued the art of saving space and time. This year managed to bring some new technology to the market to help cut down on the load.

Combination ovens like the Boilerless combi oven & steamer are stackable, versatile, and have temperature control that allows you to prepare meals quicker. Another innovative equipment piece that created a lot of buzz this year is the Turbo Air Self – Cleaning Condenser , which helps maintain a dust free condenser allowing it to properly release heat – all without your staff having to clean it. The feature also minimizes the risk of your compressor breaking down while constantly maintaining the highest level of efficiency which saves you time! With its raving reviews, this is an item you will want have and keep well past 2016.

Hibachi Cooking

Today, involving customers in the cooking process is a thriving trend. People love to interact and feel connected to a finished product. Hibachi made waves in 2016 with the most popular Japanese restaurants being those that offered a combination of hibachi, sushi and sashimi. What has been known as a traditional way of heating in Japan for centuries has become a western favorite.

Hibachi style has even moved out of the traditional formal dining experience and can be found in fast service type restaurants. All over the country, smaller fast lunch and to-go establishments have sprung up featuring hibachi style cooking from behind glass partitions. While it’s an extension of the open kitchen movement, it brings it to a new level.

The excitement of flames, watching your food get prepared and getting a free show with dinner makes it a patron favorite. Fortunately for those looking to get in on the action, this fun dining trend does not seem to be slowing down going into the New Year.

Energy Efficiency

The desire for more restaurant professionals to save and become more environmentally friendly, energy efficiency has been on the rise over the past few years. With the rise in water prices this year, water management has become a priority and trend this year. There are many easy ways to conserve water in the restaurant industry, as well as adopt more "green" initiatives, and plenty of restaurateurs are becoming a part of the solutions. Expect this trend to follow the industry into 2017.

New In 2017

Technology Leading the Way

According to Mintel, a leading market intelligence agency, four key technology trends are set to make an impact in the foodservice industry in 2017. These technological innovations are predicted to drastically improve the overall convenience, simplify menus, and help eliminate food waste.

Our society gravitates to instant gratification. As labor costs continue to rise along with customers’ need for convenience, more restaurants will start automating their services to provide a more convenient and efficient operation. This automation will come through kiosk-only restaurants, robots that deliver food at your doorstep and chat bots (computer program designed to simulate intelligent conversation) that will allow making online reservations easy without the use of a human employee.

Reducing the Footprint

With food waste becoming a growing issue in the United States restaurants will begin to find new ways to repurpose existing foods that would otherwise be discarded. Chefs are starting to grow their own ingredients and find uses for all parts of vegetables similar to the concept of nose-to-tail used with meats. As chefs start to become more creative with their ingredients, it is anticipated that customers will become more open to trying new dishes. This will ultimately help chefs lower their food waste and reduce food cost.

Environmental Awareness

Awareness of environmental responsibility is forever growing in today’s world of consumers. Another advancement we will begin seeing even more of in the upcoming year is hydrocarbon refrigeration which is described as natural non-toxic refrigerants that have low global warming potential which is better for the environment. In the past few years the manufacture True has been committed to replacing harmful substances with more eco-friendly alternatives such as hydrocarbon refrigeration.

Returning to Our Roots with Age-Old Cooking Styles

The desire for authenticity in food menus is rapidly growing making international cuisines that are new to American palates fulfilling customer’s cravings for a unique experience. For the Millennial especially, providing an authentic experience while dining is one of the most important components. Restaurants are seeing the younger audiences request more pickled and fermented ingredient preparation on the menu.

In 2017, a shift in the food preparation techniques will lead to returning to more traditional and ethnic food prep styles. From casual to fine dining restaurants, the use of fire instead of traditional ovens is emerging. In-house cured, brined and pickled menu items have also seen a steady rise and are expected to make waves throughout the restaurant industry this year. These are time-tested techniques in the forefront now due to Americans increasing desires for international flavors.

Entertaining Your Guests

The final trend that we will see heavily in 2017 is the entertainment value of dining out. Instead of simply going to a restaurant for food, customers are more interested in the ambiance.

This is especially true in younger demographics such as Millennials and members of Generation Z. Dining out is a social event which they share, not only with those next to them, but the world via social media. Photos, reviews, videos and status updates are mere seconds away from exposing your restaurant to thousands of people thanks to how these generations experience the world.

Is your restaurant ready to interact on social platforms? We’ve got some great tips to get you started!

Expect this trend to continue to be a powerhouse over the next few years. The restaurants creating a memorable and fun are going to benefit greatly as more of the millions born in this age of technology come of age this year and start making – and spending – their money loyally in their favorite eateries and bars.

New Year New Discoveries

When it comes to staying up on trends, you want to be as knowledgeable and up-to-date as possible. The foodservice industry has made leaps and will continue to evolve with time. Knowing what changes are coming down he pipeline will help you, the restaurateur prepare for a successful business year while keeping consumers excited and delighted. 2016 brought great trends, innovations, and equipment to the forefront; 2017 will do that and more. Don’t you dare miss it!

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