The Y-Pulse Dream Kitchen Survey team surveyed panelists before the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) and scoured the show floor to uncover the latest trends in foodservice equipment.
Y-Pulse released the 2015 Dream Kitchen Survey at NAFEM. The survey was developed to collect insight from leading foodservice operators about the impact of menu trends on their professional kitchens and to guide innovation teams at leading food equipment manufacturers.
Dream Kitchen Survey Highlights
35 percent of operators are using food preparation and storage equipment more often than in the past few years, and more than 30 percent are using more high volume production, beverage service, and combination cooking equipment.
Top causes of aggravation in professional kitchens include space limitations, out of service equipment, and equipment that does not deliver as expected on overall quality, durability, and performance.
Diet and lifestyle trends having the greatest impact on equipment purchases are all day snacking, allergies, and specialty diets.
Flexible equipment that can be repurposed to handle preparation of multiple cuisines and styles of service is in demand, especially in non-commercial operations.
Ethnic menu trends are impacting equipment decisions most in college and university foodservice, convenience stores, and with contract management firms.
When Y-Pulse panelists were asked about the one piece of new equipment that would solve a kitchen frustration, most of their answers fell into several important categories:
- High volume performance
- Dependable temperature control
- Simplified controls
- Healthier Cooking Methods
- Enhanced Reliability
More than half of the Y-Pulse panelists surveyed before the conference said that the following menu trends were influencing their purchases somewhat or to a great extent: healthy, sustainability, ethnic, fresh and locally sourced, all day menus and snacking, accommodating allergies and special diets, portability and grab and go.
The Dream Kitchen Survey trend spotters compiled insight from the show floor, market observations and conversations with opinion leaders in the industry and compiled this list of important kitchen and dining room trends to watch.
Back of house moves front and center: Today’s consumers want to be in the know about the food they enjoy when dining out and some forward thinking restaurateurs are moving the kitchen right into the dining area, giving diners a personal experience with meal preparation
From malls to halls: The mall food court is giving way to more food-centric marketplace concepts and food halls where the shopping experience revolves around food.
Micro Mini Footprints: Just like stereo speakers, smaller, smarter and more efficient pieces of equipment that can effectively multi-task are in demand in professional kitchens. Also, equipment that minimizes carbon footprints is on trend.
Chic Sophisticated Back of House: Form and function are sharing the spotlight in equipment where aesthetics and high performance come together.
Less Is More: Ventless, oil-less, and waterless equipment that can plug into a standard outlet is making it easy to set up a foodservice venue in any type of location.
Upcycled Elegance: Trend setting restaurants are featuring a rustic motif to emphasize the farm to table concept and suppliers are coming on the scene to provide locally sourced, reclaimed, upcycled material for the new rustic aesthetic. The concept extends to dinnerware with the popularity of unmatched, imperfect dinnerware that looks to be a flea market find.
Two Restaurants, One Kitchen: Keeping cost saving measures invisible to the customer, some fine dining restaurants in major metropolitan areas are working out of a shared kitchen space that delivers food for very different concepts. For example, Paris Club and Ramen-San share a kitchen in Chicago and in Boston, gastropub Deep Ellum shares a kitchen with Lone Star Taco.
Going Global with A Brand Story: American restaurant chains are finding interest in their brand story is important to design of international stores.