🪲The Prep: Bugs for dinner?

5 min read
🪲The Prep: Bugs for dinner?

Would you fry up a bug for your patrons? Or pour them a beanless espresso? Food trends for the summer are taking an exotic turn -- pull up a chair to learn more in today's edition of The Prep.

On the menu:
👩‍💼 Future-driven management strategies
🦗 Bugging out in the Big Easy
🍝 A Top Chef's new adventure
☕ Coffee made with no beans?

Biggest restaurant trends of 2024

Last week, the Restaurant Leadership Conference (RLC) wrapped up, leaving restaurant owners and operators with valuable insights for navigating today's challenging landscape. A few highlights included conversations on thinking:

  • Beyond Wages: The industry must move beyond just wages to attract and retain talent. Focus on building a strong employee proposition that includes benefits, training, and a positive company culture.
  • Tech for Efficiency: Skip the robot servers! The conference emphasized technology that improves operations, like labor scheduling, back-of-house efficiency, and omnichannel strategies (e.g., online ordering).
  • AI on the Horizon:  Artificial intelligence (AI) is coming. The conference urged proactive planning to see how AI can benefit your business and develop an integration strategy.

Read more at Nation’s Restaurant News.

🎧\vinePair, Episode 623

Predicting 2024's drink of the summer

VinePair's expert podcast hosts ponder what might be the next big drink trend. Two strong contenders emerge: craft ciders and the return of the spritz. The West Coast's growing love for higher-ABV imperial ciders has the potential to spark a national trend. Could cider finally have its moment in the summer sun? The podcast also suggests a wave of new spritzes featuring various bases beyond Aperol. This trend would offer light, bubbly, and refreshing options perfect for beating the summer heat. 

Listen to the full episode here.

Espresso's final evolution?

Could beanless coffee be the next big thing? Bluestone Lane serves a unique type of espresso made from upcycled superfoods such as guava and date seeds. This type of coffee aims for sustainability and health, and it has a distinctive flavor profile that includes hints of dark chocolate and dried fruit. Beanless espresso could offer exciting new flavors to the restaurant scene, which might attract a more diverse range of customers.

Explore the trend at Fast Casual.

Discover the art of smaller pours

Are you looking for ways to expand your wine list without breaking the bank? A trend bubbling overseas could soon be making waves in the U.S. - smaller wine pours. New studies suggest offering smaller portions might be the key to optimizing your wine program. This allows for greater menu variety without the burden of excess inventory. Customers can explore a wider range of wines, and restaurants can benefit from reduced waste and potentially higher profit margins. While still in its early stages, this approach is worth considering as you strategize your wine program for the future.

Read on at Restaurant Magazine.

Data drives smarter decisions

In today's competitive restaurant industry, leveraging data is crucial for staying ahead of the curve. A new study highlights critical areas where data empowers intelligent decision-making:

  • Understanding customer behavior: Analyze reservation platforms and POS systems to identify high-value customers and personalize their experience based on past purchases.
  • Menu optimization: Track sales data to make informed menu offerings and pricing decisions.
  • Targeted marketing: Integrate data from customer relationship management (CRM) tools to tailor marketing campaigns for better engagement and customer segmentation.

Learn more at HBR.

Cicadas take over NOLA menus

New Orleans is buzzing with the latest food craze: cicadas! Restaurants are getting creative, offering these protein-packed treats in exciting new ways. Imagine sinking your teeth into a plate of Cajun-fried cicadas or savoring the unique flavor of cicada tacos. Feeling adventurous? Some New Orleans establishments are even featuring cicada flour baked into delectable pastries! Early reports suggest a surprisingly pleasant taste—nutty and earthy.

Join the conversation at Huff Post.

A pinch of this and that

🦞 Boston Market explores bankruptcy

👨‍🍳 Chef Viviani expands his reach

📈 6 Ways Restaurateurs Can Fight “Lunchflation”

👕 How the chore coat became a staple

🚫 NYC restaurant goes kids-free

🌮 Tijuana Flats calling it quits?

From consumer trends to emerging technology that will improve your operations -- The Prep offers weekly insight into what is driving the bar and restaurant industries.

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We’re looking forward to connecting with you each week – thanks for coming to the table for The Prep.