Restaurant.com, the nation's largest dining deals site, is letting diners and restaurant operators know what the industry has in store in 2014. With the exception of certain comfort foods, Restaurant.com foresees a return to simpler menu items and fresher, healthier ingredients in the coming year. Restaurant.com is releasing a complete list of 2014 Restaurant Food Trend Predictions, with insight from Restaurant.com president, CMO, and resident trend-guru Christopher Krohn. From eggs and super foods to chili sauces, restaurant-goers are bound to find many of these food items in restaurants in 2014.
Restaurant.com's 2014 Food Trend Predictions:
1. Egg-cellent Adventures
That's right, diners will be seeing and eating a lot more eggs at restaurants in 2014. Chefs are already starting to top America's favorite foods with eggs–on burgers and pizza, for example. Eggs are versatile, nutritious and can be worked into lots of dishes, such as salads and stir-fries. The "breakfast for dinner" craze and increasing popularity of regional specialties like Korean Bibimbop and Mexican Heuvos Rancheros will continue to accelerate this trend as well.
2. Farm to Fork
In 2014, the farm-to-table trend will grow, driven by diners' growing eco-awareness and their desire for the wholesome simplicity of homestyle cooking and minimally-processed foods. Riding this wave, restaurants are returning to their predecessors' roots, locally sourcing fresh produce and natural ingredients and cooking them up in a style that more closely resembles the authentic recipes that once graced grandma's kitchen table. For examples of this trend, look for fresh-baked biscuits, locally produced cheeses, egg dishes (see previous trend), honey-sweetened desserts, and beef alternatives such as rabbit, lamb, and dark-meat poultry on more menus in 2014.
3. Tea Time, All the Time
Made popular by Asian restaurants, green tea is an increasingly popular beverage and ingredient choice used in restaurants across the United States. Krohn predicts that items like green tea cupcakes, sorbets, and macaroons will soon be popping up in local bakeries. Ground teas like matcha and chai will be used as dry rubs and marinades for beef, chicken, or veggies. Tea-smoked salmon and pork will both make headway in the New Year, and English-style tea-time gatherings at local cafes will also be big. Add to tea's traditional role as a popular beverage choice (sweet tea will be inescapable in restaurants this summer), and it's easy to see why this ancient ingredient is a frontrunner for 2014 fame.
4. Bread-y When You Are
Americans are re-thinking their relationship with this staple, and the role of bread in our diets is changing rapidly even as the bread choices available to diners continues to increase. As a result, some bakeries have become key drivers of the aforementioned farm-style food movement. And many restaurants have begun baking their own artisan breads in house, livening up sandwiches, and burgers with special loaves, from ciabatta, to challah, to pretzel. With options like brisket on brioche, pesto-drizzled croutons, and Panini on sundried tomato focaccia, American menus will continue to feature bread in various styles like never before in 2014.
5. It's A Bird, It's a Plane, It's...SuperKale?
You've probably heard the buzz about 2013's salad darling, kale, but there may be others on this vitamin "A Team" you have yet to discover. Some of these remaining Super Foods include ingredients less familiar to the nation's restaurant tables, like pomegranate, quinoa and flax seeds. Others are traditional menu items that diners are re-discovering as members of the Super Food "swat" team. Sweet potatoes, salmon, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, beets and shrimp all make this list. Chefs everywhere are taking notes on three super food types in particular : Power-packed veggie-based phytonutrients (found in such delectables such as squash, arugula, heirloom tomatoes, kale, sweet potatoes, and broccoli); disease-fighting antioxidants (coming from a variety of tasty treats, such as pomegranates, beets, tea, cinnamon, chocolate, and cauliflower); and healthy Omega-3s (from salmon, shrimp, quinoa, and nuts, to name a few). Grandma may not have understood the science behind these Super Foods, but Restaurant.com predicts there will be a proliferation of these nutritional darlings on restaurant menus in 2014.