There will always be a place for good ole comfort foods like burgers and fries, but over the past few years health trends have changed. For many Millennials and Gen Z, healthy eating is a lifestyle choice and something that they identify very strongly with. For others, healthy eating is a new concept and something they want to try and be more intentional with. The pandemic also sparked a wave of health consciousness, as many people began taking a hard look at their overall health and how they can improve it. Of course adjusting one’s diet is usually a first step in improving health so we will look at some health trends in the restaurant industry, and how you can incorporate some of these into what you are already doing.
If your restaurant is wanting to adapt to more modern health trends, adding a plant-based option is one way to do that. There are companies that sell plant based proteins that you can easily incorporate into your burgers, tacos or meat sauce. Meat-based dishes have always dominated most menus in the United States, where plants and vegetables usually played a supporting role as a side or small plate. The tables are turning, or at least shifting to give the plant-based foods a starring role for a few menu items. If your restaurant has not already jumped on this trend, it might be worth your while to consider how you can incorporate more plant-based dishes.
Partner with Local Farmers
Not only is using fresh, local ingredients great for sustainability, it is a great healthy option that customers appreciate. Shopping local is another trend that people have started to value more, so when you mix the two, eating healthy and shopping local, you are appealing to a wide range of guests. Offering a salad utilizing fruits and vegetables that are in season or creating a healthy soup with fresh ingredients are two great ways to cater to people seeking healthier menu items.
If you are taking time to adjust your food items, it might be worth your while to add a few healthy drink items as well. Sparkling water with real fruit or offering cold pressed juice instead of regular juice are easy options that your health conscious guests will appreciate. Kombucha, a fermented tea, is also gaining popularity and is said to have many health benefits. The main idea here is to offer drinks that have little to no sugar added. You can highlight these drinks on your menu so people that are trying to make better choices, feel like they have options besides water.
Allowing customers to customize their meals is a great way to accommodate them in their healthy eating journey. Sometimes it is as simple as offering to wrap their burger in lettuce instead of a hamburger bun. Remember, some people do not identify as vegetarian or vegan, but are simply trying to opt for healthier options when they are available, so review your menu, decide what works best and how you can switch a few things up to offer more healthy options to your guests. It might seem overwhelming and impossible to keep up with all of the trends, but remember that you don’t have to change your menu every time something new is trending. Look at what you are already doing and if needed, make a few simple changes.