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For restaurateurs, there’s no rest for the bold. We’ve now entered the time of the year where the latest food trends are being predicted and new restaurant menu ideas are coming to mind to keep on trends. And just like that, the restaurant trends are exploding and we’re all kicking off 2018. As we get inspired by new restaurant menu ideas, what can you expect for restaurant trends in 2018? We dug into what top industry publications are forecasting to find out.

Here are the top 10 food trends for 2018 that will be showing up on menus and in Instagram feeds throughout the year.

Floral Flavors

Celebrity chefs at high-end restaurants have been using edible flowers for years, and the trend has finally caught on more broadly. In 2018 you’ll be seeing edible flowers on dishes, and also floral infused flavors in coffees, teas, and cocktails. A few of the stand out flowers are elderflower, rose, and lavender

Super Powders

What started as a trend among the seriously health conscious has become more mainstream in recent years. Super powders are easy to incorporate into a variety of dishes and offer an extra dose of nutrients. Be on the lookout for more matcha, turmeric and maca root showing up on menus.

plant based food trends

Functional Mushrooms

Functional mushrooms can also be referred to as medicinal mushrooms and will get you thinking about mushrooms in a whole new way. No, these are not sautéed into an omelet or stirred into a risotto, but ground up into powder and used for their medicinal qualities. Powders can be added to the broth to add an earthy umami flavor, but more commonly are added to drinks such as coffee.

Middle Eastern Flavors

Hummus and falafel have long ago become mainstays in American kitchens, and now people are embracing more Middle Eastern flavors with influences from countries like Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Look for more spices such as harissa, cardamon, and za’atar as well as ingredients such as lamb, tahini, pomegranate and dried fruits.

Poke Bowls

This Hawaiian speciality took the mainland by storm in 2017, and continues to gain in popularity. 2018 is going to see chefs getting more creative and making the poke bowl more unique by customizing it with local ingredients.  

Looking for findings on hot-button labor issues like employee turnover and tipping, as well as data-driven food trend predictions for 2018? You won't find them anywhere else but Upserve's State of the Industry.

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Plant Based Dining

More and more diners are trying to include more plants into their diets, without going full-on vegetarian. Instead of cutting animal products out completely, many people are trying to have smaller portions of meat and bigger portions of vegetables.

Fermented Food

Americans are known to be wary of fermented food, but as they have gotten more adventurous and healthy in their food choices, they have begun to embrace fermented foods. Foods like yogurt and cheese, as well as kimchi and pickled vegetables, help keep your gut happy and add a lot of flavor to dishes.

Colorful Food

It’s true, Instagram is influencing menus in visual ways. The pressure is on to create food that not only tastes good, but looks good too. Beautiful, colorful food that looks great on camera, and inspires people to snap and share.

Alcohol-Free Drinks

There is no denying that alcohol sales make up a huge part of a restaurant’s profit. Yet, did you realize that a third of adults don’t drink alcohol at all? And, another 30% consume less than one drink per week. Whether they’re pregnant, underage, uninterested or in recovery, this is a large pool of people ordering water with lemon. Expect to see more restaurants developing alcohol-free options such as flavored sparkling water, specialty sodas, and house-made mocktails that pair well with menu items.

Reducing Food Waste

There is no denying the world has a problem with food waste, and restaurants and diners can each play a role in helping address this problem. From the consumers’ point of view, they can order an appropriate amount of food and take home what they didn’t finish. On the flip side, chefs can help by having a more efficient inventory system and using nose-to-tail butchery and root-to-stem cooking to make use of all parts of their ingredients.

What food trends are you seeing out there and feeling exciting about? Looking to add them to your restaurant menu quickly? Try this restaurant menu template. 

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Kristin lives on the West Side of Providence with her wine blogger husband. When she's not co-hosting their monthly wine tastings, she's planning her next travel adventure and daydreaming about Spanish jamón. She can often be found pouring over travel guides at her favorite neighborhood spot, Nick's on Broadway.