Coming off of a year where sourdough starters and banana bread were all the rage, we’re looking at what flavors are fancying people’s taste buds now as we project this year’s culinary trends. Of course, how we satisfy our guests’ cravings is just as important as what their cravings are – whether that’s in person or virtually.
“When planning our culinary strategy, we try to stay ahead of the game and also learn from what has been successful in the industry,” said Chief Culinary Officer Chris Ivens-Brown. “Once we identify the concepts and cuisines that our guests are interested in, we incorporate those into our stations and employ the necessary associate training to execute and maintain the authenticity of that cuisine.”
FOCUSING ON FUNCTIONAL FOODS
Ivens-Brown is tracking the continual interest in foods that heal, especially during a time when strong immune systems and physical vitality peeks an individual’s personal priority list. One of the ways our guests can experience functional foods is through our new “It’s a great day for a salad” micro-concept which brings a wide variety of offerings to curate the perfect bed of greens and toppings that are made-to-order. Additionally, Our Food with Purpose platform supports including wellness offerings in all our menus and within our snack and beverage selections.
Menus with authentic, ethnic flavors have been grown in popularity over the years as more of our guests take on the “foodie” mentality. Eurest’s new Better Together Series not only draws out more of those flavors, but it also highlights the people and cultures who are responsible for creating them. As we celebrate national observances like Black History Month (February) and Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month (May), chefs are sharing meals that represent their culture, upbringing and ethnicity to diversify our menus and educate others on who they are and where they come from.
BRINGING BREAKFAST BACK
As plant-based diets and European eating trends take hold among Americans, our culinary team will be looking to give breakfast a makeover. From sous vide eggs to acai bowls, the way people are breaking their fast seems to be stretching beyond just bacon and eggs. This evolution is being supported as people transition back to the workplace after working from home where they have had time to think about breakfast.
Many of us have experienced the heartbreak of seeing a favorite local restaurant close as a result of pandemic lockdowns. It’s resulted in several campaigns to “support local” in various cities nationwide, and Eurest is supporting that initiatives through partnerships like FoodWorks. FoodWorks creates pop-up restaurant experiences in the workplace to bring popular street eats to our guests.
MEAL BOXES & KITS
Convenience will probably never go out of style. Whether it’s catering a virtual meeting to lighten the load on a work-from-home day or grabbing a take-home meal to make the transition back to the workplace easier on home life, we predict meal boxes and kits are here to stay to provide convenience for our guests in whatever work life stage they are in. Eurest has created an array of offerings from care packages of snacks that can be sent to an employee’s home to ingredient boxes for a cooking team-building class during your next virtual event.
“We’re continuing to bring back fun, but we have to remain flexible. As we’re looking to customize solutions, there is a big focus on business type, client needs and populations. We are pivoting based on their needs, remaining as nimble as possible as we outline initiatives for this year,” said Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Lahiji.