7 of the hottest trends in foodservice right now

 In Blog, Trendspotting

Photo Credit: Mr. Holmes Bakehouse

Breakfast Mash-Ups

QSR chains are getting creative with new breakfast options, especially in the form of mash-ups: dessert inspired breakfasts, sweet and savory (swavory) combos, and even through the reinvention of pastries, as in the cretzel (croissant-pretzel), cruffin (croissant-muffin) and most recently the doughrito.

Market examples: Krispy Kreme Strawberry Shortcake Doughnut, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse Cruffin, McDonald’s Breakfast Bowls, White Castle Breakfast Waffle Slider, Max Brenner’s Savory Waffle Sandwiches, Surfin Donuts Doughrito

Beverage Innovation

New drinks on the menu include inventive mocktails infused with vinegars and botanicals, dessert inspired beverages that incorporate cookies and candy, and beverages that capitalize on natural positioning to appeal to a wider consumer segment.

Market examples: Saba Soda – Monteverde, Cardamom Apple Basil – Cava Grill, Sparkling Cucumber Seltzer – Pret A Manger, Acai Berry Green Iced Tea – PaneraWatermelon Slush with Rainbow Candy – Sonic

vegetables avant garden

Photo Credit: Avant Garden

Vegetable Varieties

No longer viewed as just a side dish, vegetables are highlighted as the main dish by being smoked, pickled, charred and fermented. From brocomole (broccoli guacamole) to portabello carpaccio, veggies are taking over menus, and are even inspiring vegetarian and vegan establishments, both in upscale and fast-casual dining styles.

Market examples: Vedge, Beefsteak, Native Foods Café, Avant Garden, Café Gratitude, Crossroads



Today’s consumers are focused on formulations made with a few quality ingredients, leading to a shift toward natural alternatives, simpler ingredient statements (“free-from” claims), and commitments to fewer artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and additives.

Market examples: Caribou Coffee, Panera Bread, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell


The stakes are rising for customer experience in foodservice. Consumers are drawn to premium offerings like alcohol and other specialty beverages, exotic flavors, and products with clearly defined provenance.

Market examples: Chipotle (cocktails), Taco Bell (alcohol offerings), Starbucks Evenings (wine & craft beer), Num pang (flavors of defined provenance)


Consumers appreciate the autonomy of mixing and matching their food and drink options. The “build your own” model is expanding to pizza, salads, and Southeast Asian cuisine. In some cases, consumers can even use a mobile app to build their meals.

Market examples: Poki Poki Cevicheria, Mod Pizza, Sweetgreen, ShopHouseSushi Fuku


Photo Credit: Taco Bell

Bowls & Porridge

With the growing demand for less processed and whole foods, bowls are popping up on menus as a way to incorporate a variety of flavors, textures, ingredients, and nutritional benefits. Savory breakfast bowls with porridge or brown rice are particularly on trend.

Market examples: McDonald’s, Little Park, Sqirl, Le Pain Quotidien, Wanderlust Hollywood