I NSP I RAT ION FOR TRANSFORMI NG THE BUS I NESS OF FOOD
16 Food, Drink, Operations & Tech Predictions for restaurants in 2020
3 BEST RESTAURANT Marketing Ideas for 2020
THE 10 BEST DISHES OUR CRITIC ATE IN 2019
THE MAGAZ I NE OF THE AR I ZONA RESTAURANT ASSOC I AT ION
Goodbye 2019 The holiday season brings time for reflection on what is to come and how to gear up for a successful New Year. In this issue we share the top trends for 2020 straight from the experts. Who’s ready to kick off 2020?!
4 6 16 FOOD, DRINK , OPERATIONS AND TECH PREDICTIONS FOR RESTAURANTS IN 2020
I 8 THE 10 BEST DISHES OUR CRITIC ATE IN 2019
7 4 3 BEST RESTAURANT MARKETING IDEAS FOR 2020
Explore this global hub of industry news and commentary on food, drink, design and more.
Get to know Arizona’s food scene through stories, interviews and conversations with industry insiders.
THESE WILL BE THE BIGGEST FOOD TRENDS OF 2020, ACCORDING TO CHEFS
what 4 6
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE 0 8
I6 FOOD, DRINK , OPERATIONS AND TECH PREDICTIONS FOR RESTAURANTS IN 2020
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN I 0
LOOKING AHEAD: ARA’S 2020 EVENT CALENDAR I 4
Learn from the best with this business know-how guide filled with ideas, tips and resources.
SERVSAFE 2020 UPCOMING CLASSES I 5 ‘THIS IS WHAT ARIZONA TASTES LIKE’ I 6 THE I0 BEST DISHES OUR CRITIC ATE IN 20I9 I 8
3 BEST RESTAURANT MARKETING IDEAS FOR 2020 7 4
THE FUTURE OF RESTAURANTS AND MONEY- SAVING TIPS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER 9 4
INTERCHANGE FEES AND HOW THEY ARE DETERMINED I 02
President & CEO Steve Chucri
Membership, Vice-President Jana Shelton
Chief Operating Officer Dan Bogert
ProStart & Education Foundation, Manager Paula Bugg
2019 Media Kit 3333 E Camelback Road, Suite 285 Phoenix, AZ 85018 P 602.307.9134 F 602.307.9139 azrestaurant.org
rizona’s restaurant industry had a stronger than expected 2019. This time last year I talked about the possibility of a slowdown in 2019, but fortunately, that did not materialize. As of this writing, the estimated number of restaurants in Arizona total 10,354, employing 229,482 people with an A
With the threats of a slowdown still present, we must continue to have a cautionary eye toward the inevitable and unpredictable disruptions that lurk ahead by placing some dollars aside and managing food and labor costs extraordinarily well.
early ARA projections show the number of restaurant establishments in Arizona to grow to 10,800 in 2020, with employment increasing to 234,531, and payroll jumping to $5.3 billion... fff
The ARA will continue to provide you with the latest projections in 2020 and stands ready to assist with your restaurant’s success in the New Year ahead. Thank you for being a part of the most wonderful industry and the Arizona Restaurant Association. Happy Holidays!
annual payroll of $4.9 billion and, wait for it….annual restaurant food sales of $13.4 billion! There is no question as to the positive change we have witnessed in Arizona’s culinary scene and culinary diversity. While the slow down did not occur, all the factors threatening a slowdown within the industry are still present moving into 2020. We will see a $1 increase in the minimum wage on January 1, a presidential election year, a record low unemployment which leads to wage inflation, and an unresolved trade war with China. Even so, the early ARA projections show the number of restaurant establishments in Arizona to grow to 10,800 in 2020, with employment increasing to 234,531, and payroll jumping to $5.3 billion. Total restaurant sales are expected to top $14 billion representing a 5% increase over 2019.
Steve Chucri President & CEO, Arizona Restaurant Association
message from the chairman
Feature As we head in to the Christmas season, two of the most important needs of friends and families are to eat and to have conversations. Our places serve the vitally important role of providing a neutral venue and relieving the distraction of food preparation so that these things can flourish. In a time where there is much discord, we provide a public service by being the space where important life conversations, celebrations and heated discussions can happen in a non-threatening environment. I consider foodservice the most honorable of occupations … just as crucial to the wellbeing of the community as a school teacher or a fireman. So, let’s celebrate our industry and be proud of the work and those who perform that work. We look forward to a busy 2020 for the ARA. Our new Board of Directors brings a breadth of talent and enthusiasm that will be ideal for the challenges ahead. We do expect some interesting legislative opportunities in 2020 and a blossoming of our fledgling Concierge Program, along with continued refinement of our events and marketing. As Immediate Past Chairman, I will be involved in the continuity of the new ARA office project.
It always amazes me...
...how fast a year goes by. And 2019 has been no exception. It has been a great year for the ARA in many ways. Foodist Awards has been taken to the next level with both a broadened voting regimen as well as more polished, guest-friendly and memorable award event. In general, all of the events and industry promotional activities, such as our long successful AZ Restaurant Week, have been carefully studied and adjusted to more closely align with our goals. It has been a more peaceful year in the legislative arena, compared with minimum wage battles. That doesn’t mean we have been resting, we continue to be vigilant to anti-business trends in other states and proactively plot a strategy to be a bulwark against similar legislation taking root in Arizona. In addition, we have advanced several ideas brought forward by members. We completed the visioning process for a new ARA building and expect in 2020 to proceed with site selection and needed fundraising. Financially, the ARA has never been in better condition. We appreciate Steve’s leadership in all of these areas while being financially prudent.
Wishing you all a fine Holiday Season and a spectacular 2020! Kindly,
75 % The hospitality industry has a turnover rate of nearly
HOW MANY TRUCKS DOES IT TAKE TO DELIVER 40 BRANDS TO 40 RESTAURANTS? ONE. WE ARE COCA-COLA AND SO MUCH MORE. LEARN WHY 4 OUT OF 5 FOODSERVICE OPERATORS SERVE COCA-COLA BRANDS.* CONTACT YOUR COCA-COLA REPRESENTATIVE, CALL 1-800-241-COKE, OR VISIT WWW.COCA-COLACOMPANY.COM
Take advantage of exclusive ARA member solutions from UnitedHealthcare to offer your employees health benefits worth sticking around for. Visit uhctogether.com/ara or contact Alliah Sheta at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Source: National Restaurant Association, May 9, 2019. Some restrictions and exclusions may apply.
JANUARY January 25 I Arizona ProStart Competition I Scottsdale Community College
FEBRUARY TBD I ARA Educational Seminar
MAY May 8-10 I National ProStart Competition I Washington, DC May 11 I ARA/ARAEF Chip-In For Education Golf Classic (Tentative) May 16-19 I NRA Show I Chicago, IL May 15-24 I Spring Arizona Restaurant Week
Serv safe 2020 upcoming classes
AUGUST TBD I ARA Member Mixer
SEPTEMBER September 18-27 I Fall Arizona Restaurant Week
JANUARY 1/8 Phoenix 1/10 Tucson 1/21 Phoenix
FEBRUARY 2/5 Phoenix (Spanish)
OCTOBER TBD I Foodist Awards
2/11 Phoenix 2/21 Tucson 2/25 Phoenix
NOVEMBER TBD I Live & Local
this is what arizona tastes like
THIS IS WHAT ARIZONA TASTES LIKE about Telling You T h i s i s t h e p l a c e I was
Feature “I want my customers to understand ‘this is what Arizona tastes like’,” Stanger says. “It’s our culture.” Fresh ingredients, inventive, well-crafted cocktails, and a seasonally inspired menu have earned Cotton & Copper a well-deserved reputation and honors such as the 2019 Foodist Awards’ “Emerging Restaurant of the Year” and “Best Signature Dish” awards. In this episode of “This Is the Place I Was Telling You About,” Stanger takes friends to some of her favorite spots in Phoenix and Scottsdale, where they learn to shuck razor clams, sip cocktails with fish sauce, and dine on fresh seafood and authentic Thai cuisine. As the night comes to a close, Stanger unveils the way to a hidden speakeasy where all end the night with a final toast “To the best company. To the best places. To Arizona.”
In this episode:
Tamara Stanger isn’t new to the farm-to-table scene. As a child, she learned to forage for local food in the surrounding wilds. As an adult, she’s put that skill to use daily as executive chef at Cotton & Copper in Tempe. Desert ingredients such as cactus pads, capers and wild amaranth all make appearances on the restaurant’s menu as seasonings that add a “natural sense of place” to every meal.
Nelson’s Meat + Fish
The Wandering Tortoise
Glai Baan Phoenix
Straight Up Scottsdale
10 best dishes in 2019
The 10 Best Dishes Our Critic Ate in 2019
By: Chris Malloy I Phoenix New Times
Za’atar and Haloumi Manakeesh Shamy Market & Bakery 1110 West Southern Avenue, #8, Mesa This hidden Mesa bakery, operated by the Alimams, a family of Syrian refugees, peals bready wonders from a gas oven from the back of a strip-mall room that is mostly market. They are pita and Middle Eastern pizza, and if
With December sliding away, a great year of eating is closing. This year, I was lucky to eat hundreds of meals (for work!) in the urban and rural reaches of the state, including at an Oak Flats campground, down on the Gila River Indian Reservation, and all over the Valley from El Mirage to Queen Creek. Out of the many plates I had, here are the 10 that still, as of today, haunt me the most.
Shamy Market & Bakery
Grilled Oysters Chula Seafood Uptown 100 East Camelback Road, #172 Oysters have an alchemy unique in the world of eating. Cooked, that
you order right, they will include manakeesh: folder-thick, yeast-risen flatbreads with puffy rims. At Shamy Market & Bakery , you can order them round and flat, almost like pizza, or shaped in toasty canoes. Za’atar is finely rained on top. Haloumi is milky and saline. It’s one of the Valley’s great unsung breads.
alchemy narrows. Even so, the delicate marine notes of cooked oysters slide into harmony in Chula Seafood Uptown’s version, grilled and placed over char-ticked Noble bread rounds. That bread is crisp. The cooked oysters still jiggle. The meaty-but-delicate bivalves get finished with a bourbon-chipotle butter carrying a milk- rich comfort and warming heat. It’s hard to feel anything but sunshine slurping Kyle Kent’s oysters. It’s hard to imagine cooked oysters getting much better. Chula Seafood Uptoen
Oxtail “Italian Beef” Hush Public House 14202 N Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale Dom Ruggiero’s riff on the Chicago- style Italian beef sandwich at Hush Public House is so mind-blowing that it might vaporize your memory of the original. His spotlights oxtail braised in
Hush Public House
Loroco Pupusa Seydi’s Pupuseria & Grill 2625 East Greenway Parkway
red wine until the melting texture of a great barbecued brisket. On the plate, it rises from a shallow pool of gravy, covering a slab of Noble brioche and itself covered by a florid blizzard of giardiniera. Smoked provolone oozes. Parsley flecks the jus. The flavor is so deep and rich and artfully balanced that it would be a first-ballot entrant if there were an oxtail dish hall of fame.
Seydi Flores griddles many kinds of pupusas at her Salvadorian restaurant in north Phoenix called Seydi’s Pupuseria & Grill . The best one I’ve had features loroco, an edible flower that imparts, to its lusciously melted cheese
Seydi’s Pupuseria & Grill
Hiramasa Ceviche Vecina 3433 North 56th Street
within its griddled corn-dough pocket, a delicate fragrance similar to that of artichoke. This pupusa is soft, but not too soft, and shows garish smears of char on abrasive exterior. Jalapeno lends heat. You can taste the corn in the dough. Flores sources loroco from a Los Angeles market, and those pupusas come straight from her heart.
The dense, light-green sauce that powers James Fox and Eric Stone’s ceviche dish at Vecina is practically drinkable. They could serve it in a bowl as a soup. They could fill pools with
this stuff and charge people large sums to swim. The sauce is based on Peru’s leche de tigre, a coconut-spiked sauce tailored to fresh raw fish. But they add thoughtful, out-of-the-box touches, like fish sauce and ginger, and these weave together imperceptibly but brilliantly. Bright with lime and pineapple, touched with jalapeno, sidekicked by snappy tostadas, this ceviche honors the first-rate Chula Seafood hiramasa heaped at center.
Lechon Baboy Hot Noodles Cold Sake (Pop-Up) 10600 E Crescent Moon Dr, Scottsdale For one day in March, Brian Webb, until recently a fixture at Hot Noodles Cold Sake , doled out lechon baboy. For this Filipino specialty, which he learned to cook from his wife’s family,
Hot Noodles Cold Sake
Chongqing Fish Old Town Taste 1845 East Broadway Road, Tempe This strip mall Chinese restaurant has a Sichuan bent, and many of its best dishes dazzle with the high-flying interplay of Sichuan peppercorn and chile burn. The best dish at Old Town Taste that leans in this direction is the Chongqing-style platter listed on the
where there is a line of lechon baboy specialists going back a few generations, he cooked a whole suckling pig on a spit over charcoal. The pork was deeply flavorful, in the way that meat from a lovingly whole-cooked animal can be. The pig was perfumed with lemongrass and garlic, and rich with skin, your first bite tearing open a rare portal to Lapu-Lapu City.
Old Town Taste
Al Pastor Taco La Bamba Mexican Grill Restaurant 12102 W Thunderbird Road, El Mirage It takes a lot to be floored by tacos in a taco town. But that’s just what happened to me when I inhaled my first al pastor tacos from this nook in the far West Valley. Edson Garcia crafts my favorite version of al pastor
menu as a house special. It comes in chicken or fish form. I prefer the fish, a small mountain of breaded whitefish alive with blistered string beans and char-splotched chiles. The sheath around each bite of chicken is thin and lacy. The fish is piping hot. There’s a blast of salt and surge of pleasant numbness and fire, washing you away to happy places.
Key Lime Pie Kai Restaurant 5594 Wild Horse Pass Boulevard
in town at La Bamba Mexican Grill Restaurant . Using a pineapple vinegar, he ferments from the fruit’s curves and wedges, using fatty pork belly. Amber strips of pineapple ornament each taco. So do lashings of three different salsas. Limes and grilled onion pile on the tray beside the tortillas. Putting your hands to a newly griddled taco, nirvana feels close.
After Kai broke for summer, Chef Ryan Swanson came back swinging. Within a few weeks, he developed and dropped a dessert for the ages: a key lime pie riff that spotlights what is arguably the signature plant of the desert: cactus. For the light green bulk and citrusy heartbeat of the “key lime” pie, Swanson calls on nopales. The fragrant, deeply earthy crust is built from Ramona Farms pinole. The pie also sees barrel
cactus seeds, cholla buds, prickly pear in two unlikely forms, wild sumac, and desert willow. And here is a pie that you can’t taste anywhere else in the world: one that, in vegetal notes, restrained sweetness, and bright cutting beauty, calls to mind the Sonoran.
Mixed Seafood Plate ShinBay 3720 N Scottsdale Rd, #201, Scottsdale ShinBay’s mixed seafood plate is a seven-headed sea monster. It’s really many plates in one, a smattering of separate, colorful marine preparations gathered onto one dish that evokes, as you go, a more deeply piercing wonder. A cream-cheese-thick lobster
reduction changes your angle on shrimp. A meaty Kumamoto oyster gets zapped with ponzu jelly. Yuzu kosho brings a recently fished alabaster Hokkaido scallop to high life. Even strips of jellyfish faint with soy conjure a salt-wind feeling of blue sea. Chef Shinji Kurita is a master. At his new 13-seat omakase, this is his most masterful dish. Chris Malloy , former food editor and current food critic at Phoenix New Times, has written for various local and national outlets. He has scrubbed pots in a restaurant kitchen, earned graduate credit for a class about cheese, harvested garlic in Le Marche, and rolled pastas like cappellacci stuffed with chicken liver. He writes reviews but also narrative stories on the food world’s margins. FOLLOW: Twitter: @yollamsirhc Instagram: malloy_chris
biggest food trends of 2020, according to chefs
These Will Be the Biggest Food Trends of 2020, According to Chefs
From grandparent food to smoked everything.
By Regan Stephens | Food + Wine
Bread! “We’ve been educated in the good of real sourdoughs, local, organic, and GMO-free cereals, heritage wheats, and antique grains. It’s truly better than ever before, available almost everywhere you turn and probably made by someone you know.” — Angela Pinkerton, chef and partner of Che Fico and Che Fico Alimentari in San Francisco Smoke “I think smoking is going to be very big in 2020. In addition to its dramatic appearance at the table, smoking provides a certain umami needed in an increasingly plant-based food space. At Tuome, we use a special Chinese tea with a BBQ fragrance that’s perfect for adding a deeper level of richness to dishes. I’m currently experimenting with smoked butter, which is perfect for adding a smokiness to vegetables or enjoying with bread.” — Thomas Chen, chef at Tuome in New York An even bigger emphasis on the environment “Above all, we hope to see restaurants and chefs showing uncompromising commitment to sourcing from producers whose practices are humane, ethical, and designed to regenerate the soil and encourage biodiversity in order to sequester carbon. We’re all a part of the conversation on the climate emergency and have no excuse for not being proactive. This extends to integrating practices like using biodegradable
Leading up to 2019, chefs predicted more plant-based meals, fast-casual dining, and kelp, and their predictions came to fruition, to varying degrees, over the last year in dining rooms around the country. As we wrap up the decade and look forward to 2020, we asked celebrated chefs and industry experts to predict what’s next. The 34 chefs we spoke with are forecasting sherry, sustainable seafood, smoked everything, lots of bread, and so much more. Below, check out the 22 trends that will dominate kitchens, bars, and restaurants next year. Healthier kitchens “As a young cook/sous chef working in the age of ‘bad boy’ chefs, I think the newer chefs are more focused on health, mindful eating, sustainable foods and lifestyles, and fitness. Thus cooking with that mindset. Food to fuel the mind body and spirit.” — Cassidee Dabney, chef of Blackberry Farm in Tennessee
cleaning products wherever possible, reducing waste, and composting. We also hope to see people demand more high- nutrient vegetables and grains and less animal protein and sugar in every level of dining.” — Samantha Kincaid and Jon Nodler, chefs and owners of Cadence in Philadelphia “I think that you’re going to see a continued emphasis on sustainability. Sourcing locally and seasonally isn’t good enough anymore, and I believe moving forward we will continue to push towards a heightened knowledge and awareness of our consumption of our most finite resources.” — Brady Williams, chef of Canlis in Seattle More sustainable seafood “Definitely caulini. It’s a new hybrid vegetable that tastes great and is low on prep. Extra bonus is that it looks great on a plate. Also, I see a trend of more chefs searching out sustainable fish and seafood options — let’s get our guests willing to try other options besides salmon and shrimp!” — Andrew Carmellini, chef and owner of NoHo Hospitality and Rye Street Tavern in Baltimore “In 2019, we saw that sustainable cooking and sourcing is becoming less of an aspiration and more of an expectation. So many restaurants have made positive changes to how and where they source their food, however we anticipate 2020 will bring even bigger changes, especially when it comes
to sourcing seafood. At odo we’ve sourced our ingredients locally—including our seafood, since we opened, where as many Japanese restaurants here in New York City consider “premium” fish to come from Japan. However, more and more Japanese restaurants are realizing that sourcing domestically doesn’t mean there is any sacrifice in quality. Therefore, we anticipate more Japanese restaurants will be exploring dish preparations with fish from Maine, Long Island, and other East Coast cities.” — Hiroki Odo, chef and owner of Michelin-starred odo and HALL in New York “Urban agriculture, hyper-local ingredients that are readily available, and sustainable fish—more awareness of ocean issues and environmental impact.” — Amy Brandwein, chef/owner of Centrolina and Piccolina in Washington, D.C.
More hyper-regional cooking “Regional food will be broken into micro-regions. Southern will break up into Appalachian, Lowland, Creole, etc. Mexican restaurants will be Veracruz, Oaxaca, Yucatan, etc. It’s a great way to learn about the food of other cultures.” — Josh Habiger, chef at Bastion in Nashville “In 2020, I think that we’re going to be lifting up marginalized voices even more. I think that we’ll continue to see greater representation of women in the kitchen, and that we’re going to see even more of these regional cuisines gaining the spotlight with an increase in single-dish concepts, similar to what you might see at a street hawker in Singapore. With so many food halls and small retail spaces, it’ll be easier to see someone really excel in a single dish, than have to build out an entire concept.” — Salil Mehta, chef at Laut Singapura Sherry, accessible wine, and juice pairings “Wine will be a more accessible beverage, particularly as it lands in kegs and cans.” — Marcie Turney, chef and owner of Barbuzzo and We Love 13th Street restaurant group in Philadelphia “Juices and other interesting beverage pairings will take another leap again to the main stage.” — Justin Cogley, chef of Aubergine in Carmel-by-the-Sea
“Sherry will become the new thing to sip on, on the heels of the amari trend.” — Chad Williams, chef and owner of Friday Saturday Sunday in Philadelphia More women in charge Butcher shops, bakeries and restaurant kitchens helmed, diners and dining rooms in check. It’s the coolest time to be a woman boss. If there’s business to be done, we are most certainly on it, and we are changing the language of it all.” — Angela Pinkerton, chef and partner of Che Fico and Che Fico Alimentari in San Francisco
heritage to our restaurants and plates. 2020 is the year of flavor.” — Paola Velez, executive pastry chef at Kith/Kin in Washington, D.C. “There will be a slow but steady revitalization of Chinese- American food. Increasingly more young and ambitious Chinese-American chefs are etching their version of Chinese food onto the culinary map. And whether their concepts are upscale or casual, they are starting to shift the national dialogue about Chinese culture and cuisine.” — Simone Tone, chef of Little Tong Noodle Shop and soon-to-open Silver Apricot in New York Grandparent food “I think tradition will be very important in 2020, the food of our grandparents. Foods that represent personal and shared histories, without fuss.” — Josh Kulp, chef at Honey Butter Fried Chicken in Chicago Simpler plating “A trend I’ve been enjoying and looking forward to is necessities in plating. Why garnish everything with sorrel or flowers if they don’t add to the dish? Or spending 12 hours to make a lemon ash that only adds color? I’m excited to see simple clean plating so the food speaks louder.” — Meagan Stout, executive chef at Noelle in Nashville
Family-style dining, still “More family-style offerings: I think most restaurants will start offering this, even in fine dining. The act of sharing a plate with someone is so ancestral. It not only encourages conversation but makes dining a more communal act and team sport.” — Kwame Onwuachi, executive chef of Kith/Kin in Washington, D.C. First-generation cooking “I think a big trend for 2020 is going to be first generation Americans, children of immigrants cooking their food unashamed. We have been cooking Eurocentric cuisine as the standard. All culinary classes are based off of these cuisines. We were so afraid to speak up because no one understood sazón, and there wasn’t a proper jury of our peers to even evaluate our distinct cuisines. However, we’re finally gaining control of the narrative and bringing our culture, dreams and
Vegetables, vegetables, vegetables “Plant-based foods and all things vegetables! People are realizing that they are too focused on protein sources and are moving to vegetables and plant-based alternatives. Quality farming will be more on the forefront with the guarantee of being sustainable and without the use of harmful chemicals linked to many human illnesses like cancer. — Gabriel Kreuther, chef of Two-Michelin-Starred Gabriel Kreuther Restaurant in New York “I think there will be an emphasis on healthier plant-based options that will focus on the connection between what we eat and how it fuels the mind, body and soul. Wild food, foraging and vegetables will take a front seat in the kitchen in 2020. Simplicity and elegance in cooking and plating will showcase clean, bright and bold flavors.” — Christopher Hathcock, chef at Husk Savannah in Savannah “The hearty vegetables will continue to take over the world and most likely replace a lot of the main courses.” — Justin Cogley, chef of Aubergine in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Even higher quality meat “There has been in increase in demand for high-quality, hormone-free meat options that I believe will continue to advance in 2020. Not only in steakhouses, but also in other restaurant models where people are looking for top choice, unprocessed proteins. Red meat was once looked down upon or seen as unhealthy because of the fat content, but as more research is conducted and new diets like paleo, keto and high protein diets become more popular, unprocessed beef is becoming a go-to option.” — Michael Lomonaco, chef and partner at Porter House Bar and Grill, Center Bar and Hudson Yards Grill in New York Interactive dining “Diners seem to be trending more and more toward interaction with restaurants and kitchens. I foresee more open kitchens, counters, and service lead by back of house teams. This would include things like smaller tasting menus and more crafted experiences.” — Dave Beran, chef and owner of Michelin- starred Dialogue and pasjoli in Santa Monica “More interactive dining, with open kitchens and chef’s tables becoming the norm.” — Christopher Gross, chef at The Wrigley Mansion in Phoenix
“Looking ahead to the new year, I’m looking at dinner journeys and experiences such as private underground supper clubs.” — Jennifer Carroll, co-executive chef of Spice Finch in Philadelphia More accommodations to dietary restrictions “Keto options at fast food and quick service.” — Katsuya Fukushima, executive chef and partner of Daikaya Group— Daikaya, Haikan, Bantam King, Hatoba—in Washington D.C. Open hearth cooking “Live fire/wood fire cooking will be a big 2020 trend. We have been seeing it more often and diners love the idea of getting to interact with and watch their meals being prepared. Everyone knows about a wood fire oven for pizza but the open hearth gives you more options. It’s an old style of cooking brought back that gives the food more flavor and also doubles as a live show for diners while they wait to eat.” — Antimo DiMeo, Chef and Owner at Bardea Food & Drink in Wilmington, Delaware
“I think 2020 will be the next generation of wood fire cooking. Expect to see more custom grill suites that allow chefs to regulate smoke and temperature. It’s no longer just wood fire as a cooking medium but a seasoning and a hot holding (almost sous vide style), smoking, and science/chemistry. At Sawyer’s (recently opened in Cleveland’s Van Aken District), the menu is centered around wood-fired cooking as well as the chapa, a versatile live fire cooking tool most commonly known in Argentina’s Patagonia and Italy’s Abruzzo regions. We’re also using a josper, a combination grill and oven fueled by glowing coals. The chapa is essentially an inch-thick slab of steel that is placed right on top of the fire; allowing a range of cooking styles by hanging ingredients at various heights, whether smoking meat, cooking vegetables directly over coals, or searing octopus on the grill-top.” — Jonathon Sawyer, chef and owner of The Greenhouse Tavern and Noodlecat in Cleveland Hospitality … and foie gras? “Restaurants going back to being accommodating to guests and making that a huge emphasis. No more declining guest needs, we’ll see restaurants start to be more accommodating again. Service being a key to that. Separately, we’ll see the return of foie gras to California.” — Neal Fraser, Chef/Partner at Redbird in Los Angeles
Itameshi cuisine “I think there will be a rise in itameshi cuisine! Itameshi, which translates to ‘Italian food’ in Japanese and is the melding of Japanese and Italian cuisines, has risen in popularity in recent years. Both country’s recipes are similarly tradition- and ingredient-driven, with a focus on perfecting singular dishes and techniques over time. They also have categorical foods that echo one another: crudos and sashimi, spaghetti and ramen, and wood-fired, whole roasted meats, whether on a robata or in a pizza oven. Many Japanese chefs have gone to Italy to apprentice and come home with traditional Italian cooking techniques that they then use with Japanese ingredients. Itameshi dishes meld the cuisines of two countries that at first glance seem different, but upon diving deeper perfectly complement each other.” — Gene Kato, chef/partner of Momotaro in Chicago Fine dining isn’t dead … “Haute cuisine will make a comeback!” — Michael Sichel, executive chef of Gabrielle in Charleston
… but it will be more communal “In 2020, we’ll see American fine dining take on a new and more accessible form to address a shift in the way people are eating. Younger generations, who are dining out in larger groups and more frequently than ever, are placing value on restaurants that they feel comfortable in and can return to. There will always be a place for special occasions’ dining in the industry, but I predict more upscale hospitality concepts will adapt their offerings to match a more social and communal style of eating, using international dining cultures (like Israeli and Korean) as inspiration.” — Shaun Hergatt, executive chef and partner at Vestry in New York Death of the kids menu “As a mother myself, I believe that kids will be dining with a more sophisticated palate in 2020 and we will see the departure of dedicated kids menus. Thanks to Instagram and the overwhelming amount of food content and imagery readily available, kids are eager to try a lot more. Millennials, more than any other generation prior, are also exposing their children to food with spice and multicultural cuisines at a much earlier age. At CHICA, our team is trained to help guide parents with great options for their children throughout the menu of what could be perceived as exotic, but really what kid could say no to colorful arepas and other visually appealing Latin- American favorites?” — Lorena Garcia, executive chef and partner of CHICA in Miami and Las Vegas
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predictions for restaurants in 2020
16 food, drink, operations and tech predictions for restaurants in 2020
by Nation’s Restaurant News
NRN editors weigh in on what restaurants can expect in the year ahead from menu development to delivery to sustainability. It’s that time of year again, when people take on the task of divining the forces that will shape our world next year. The exact trends we’ll see in 2020 are impossible to say with total certainty, but the past leaves clues. In this report, NRN editors apply their deep knowledge of the industry to identify what we will eat, drink, buy and make in the year ahead. Expect the juggernauts of the last few years — plant-based eating, sustainability, delivery and robotics — to reach new heights. Menus will focus on the basics, but done better. Benefits will get creative to keep younger employees happy. And “value-added” drinks will aim not only to quench thirst, but also to improve health.
better-for-the-planet burger — a beef burger — that supports regenerative agriculture.
Regenerative practices refer to cattle raised in a way that helps sequester carbon in the soil. Some argue that even methane- belching cows can be carbon neutral if their grazing is well managed, if they eat grass instead of corn and farmers focus more on soil health. Burgerville, for example, recently introduced at 10 units in the Pacific Northwest the “No. 6 Burger” (left) named for carbon on the elemental table. The burger uses grass-fed and grass- finished beef from Carman Ranch, where cattle graze on a mix of native grasses. Buns are made from local whole-grain flours, and the cheddar comes from a small-batch local cheesemaker using milk from more grass-fed cows.
So grab a cup of moon milk, and read on. Here’s what to expect in 2020.
Real meat burgers will be pitched as better for the planet By Lisa Jennings
Plant-based concepts may have a growing body of research that supports the idea that eating vegetables in place of meat is better for the planet. But in 2020, we will see the rise of a 48
In 2020, chains looking to create permanent relationships with customers will turn to native delivery. This allows consumers to order delivery through a brand’s own digital platforms. Chipotle Mexican Grill has been doing this for more than a year. Applebee’s launched direct delivery in August. Noodles & Company is testing it as well. It’s a smart workaround that keeps consumer data in the hands of brands while protecting margins as the third-party fees are much lower. And most importantly, easy and frictionless ordering keeps customers from straying in the so-called App Economy. As a follow-up to 2019’s mocktail bar trend, 2020 will be all about the low-proof cocktail. With the rise of alcoholic seltzers like White Claw, drinking has become more about the social aspect and taste of the drink than the booze content. Even if restaurants still offer regular cocktails, many newer and trendier eateries will have multiple drink menus with different price ranges and alcohol content levels. For example, at Acorn in Denver, the booze-free menu has drinks like house-made ginger beer, and the low-proof cocktail menu has libations like a sherry, St. Germain, blood orange Cocktails go lower alcohol By Joanna Fantozzi
Restaurants will flirt with native delivery By Nancy Luna
In an October letter to shareholders, Grubhub CEO Matt Maloney said “online diners are becoming more promiscuous.” As a result, new delivery diners on the company’s platform are not as loyal because they are testing the waters elsewhere. The likely reason? A myriad of perks — think free delivery and 2-for-1 deals — available on delivery apps as chains jockey to stand out among hundreds of online rivals. That trend is certain to continue in 2020 with delivery growing at a rapid pace. Restaurant digital orders are projected to triple in volume by the end of 2020, according to The NPD Group. 50
Reusables will see more widespread adoption By Christi Ravneberg
It’s been well over a year since plastic straws were at the epicenter of sustainability debates, and in that time the lens has widened considerably to include, well, pretty much everything else that might hold a takeout meal. Single-use takeout containers, cups and utensils are all under increased scrutiny. In the meantime, a cottage industry has popped up with new packaging materials and “closed-loop” systems to offer alternatives to one-time-use containers. And new laws, such as one in California that allows customers to bring their own containers , is paving the way for greater consumer acceptance.
liqueur and pineapple. More traditional cocktails like the restaurant’s version of a Manhattan are still available on the Acorn’s High Booze menu. Watch for “softer liquors” to become more popular on restaurant menus at independents and chain restaurants alike, and expect liqueurs, sherries and port to become ingredients of choice for the bartender who wants to create low-ABV libations that are just as creative as the harder stuff. 52
As a result, 2020 could be a breakout year for these alternatives.
Datassential. For the year ended August 2019, there were 3.2 billion servings of chicken sandwiches ordered at quick-service restaurants, up 2.3% from the same period a year ago. With those numbers, it’s no wonder there’s a chicken sandwich war going on with no signs of stopping in 2020. “A Chicken Sandwich at McDonald’s should be our top priority,” wrote the National Owners Association, a coalition of McDonald’s franchisees in a letter to operators earlier this year. “JFK called for a man on the moon; our call should be a category-leading chicken sandwich.”
New York-based Just Salad, an early adopter in this area, has offered a reusable bowl for more than a decade. But the last year has seen brands large and small exploring similar options. New York-based fast-casual chain Dig, which has nearly 30 units, recently rolled out a pilot program where reusable melamine takeout bowls are rented, returned and tracked via an app . And in Germany, McDonald’s is piloting a reusable cup program called ReCup, in which customers pay a deposit of 1 euro to receive their drink in a reusable carryout cup that they can return to any participating restaurant.
Expect more brands to follow suit.
Chicken sandwich battle By Gloria Dawson
2019 was the year the humble chicken sandwich rose up. The chicken sandwich of the year was, of course, from Popeyes. It was the sandwich that inspired thousands of tweets and a surge in traffic for the brand. But Americans’ passion for poultry sandwiches goes far beyond one menu item. Nearly half of all menus include a chicken sandwich, and almost 80% of consumers like or love the menu item, according to
We’ll see more chicken sandwiches on menus, and not just at lunch and dinner. 2020 will see more of these menu items at breakfast, like Wendy’s Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, part of the brand’s upcoming breakfast rollout.
And keep an eye out for seafood substitutes, from tomato- based tuna alternatives to seaweed-based shrimp cognates, to become more widespread. Plant-based substances meant to resemble cooked tuna, for use in tuna-salad substitutes, are set to come onstream, too. There also will be a revolution in cheese replacements, whether it’s modified coconut oil and tapioca or similar blends that continue to improve, or nut milk that scientists have figured out how to curdle and ferment just like real cheese. (That’s not new, but the products keep getting better.) You’ll also be seeing more nut-free milk substitutes made from sesame and pumpkin seeds — both available now — that cater to people with allergies.
Plant-based 2.0 By Bret Thorn
Until now, the vegan meat substitutes that have come to be called plant-based proteins have mostly been used as one- for-one swaps with meat — usually hamburger, but sometimes sausage and occasionally chicken. In 2020 they’ll be incorporated more broadly into restaurants’ repertoire. Del Taco got the ball rolling by using its own proprietary spice blend and Beyond Meat’s hamburger substitute to create the Beyond Taco. Expect to see more tacos, sausage, meatless balls, plant-based loaf, chili and so on incorporated into menus as chefs become more accustomed to using these products as normal items in their walk-ins. Also, expect more uses of plant-based egg substitutes, like the frittata that casual-dining chain Le Pain Quotidien introduced in September that’s made with mung bean-based Just Egg.
United States by another 2% in 2020. And Millennials, and many other consumers, tend to prefer “boneless wings” made from chicken breast to the real thing. Poultry producers have moved to get in on the action. Last year Jennie-O offered fried and sauced turkey “drummies” at a party during the National Restaurant Show, and this year at the MUFSO conference in Denver, Maple Leaf Farms had duck wings on display. This isn’t a brand-new trend. Casual-dining chain Brick House Tavern & Tap, part of the Houston-based Ignite Restaurant Group, introduced duck wings for the 2013 football season, and they’re on the current menu, too. Really, anything that can be shaped in pieces the size of a bite or two, fried, sauced and shared with friends can play the role that chicken wings do, so you can expect to see more Buffalo cauliflower on menus, and Buffalo plant-based protein, and probably Buffalo forms of other trending vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots, and maybe succulent Buffalo chicken thigh pieces as Americans continue to move in the direction of dark meat. You can also expect them to be coated in barbecue sauce, hot honey, garlic-Parmesan sauce, Sriracha, gochujang and other popular flavors.
Alt wings take off By Bret Thorn
Chicken wings, coated in spicy Buffalo sauce or otherwise, are now an enduring part of American culture and will likely continue to be in the coming year. In fact, the National Chicken Council estimates that wing consumption will increase in the 58
And lifestyle brands like Restoration Hardware are approaching the trend from the other direction, turning their living-room focus toward hospitality, offering restaurants and wine bars within the confines of the gallery showrooms. “It’s a new occasion,” said Barry McGowan, CEO of Plano, Texas- based Fogo de Chão, which has 42 restaurants in the United States, eight in its home country of Brazil and four in Mexico. The brand has launched its “Next Level Lounge” in Plano and in Irvine, Calif. , where the restaurants feature areas with soft sofa-like seating and lounge chairs that would feel comfortable in a high-end family room. “We’re adding music,” McGowan said. “We’re reformulating the seating to create a space where they want to hang out.” Restoration Hardware CEO Gary Friedman said the home furnishings retailer continues to roll out food and drink to its stores, which helps the brand “seamlessly integrate food, wine, art and design” and provides a sensory experience that can’t be replicated in online shopping. The retailer has restaurants in its Chicago, Nashville, New York, Minneapolis, Toronto stores as well as in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Yountville, Calif., and “conceptual designs for the restaurants in Atlanta, Tampa and Denver.”
Lounges blur the lines between living rooms and dining rooms By Ron Ruggless
Like the fogging of 20-20 vision that can come with age- related presbyopia, restaurants appealing to Millennial customers in 2020 will continue to blur the lines between living rooms and dining rooms. The restaurant lounge has made inroads at such brands as Fogo de Chão, Paul Martin’s American Grill and Punch Bowl Social, all of which have provided areas for lolling about and sharing both culinarily and socially.
The chain has conducted AV tests with Ford cars in Ann Arbor, Miami and Las Vegas. Customers were receptive to fetching pies from a self-driving car for one key reason: “You don’t have to worry about tipping in a car,” Maloney said. That test with Ford is over. Domino’s is now moving to unmanned autonomous rovers, as is Postmates. The Northern California-based third-party delivery company is testing a rover unit in Los Angeles.
Maloney called its delivery robot test “the future of our company. This fundamentally changes our business model.”
And, it will likely have a domino effect on the rest of the industry.
Delivery robots accelerate By Nancy Luna
Restaurants without addresses By Gloria Dawson
With a tight labor pool expected to rage on in the new year, consumers in major urban markets can expect their next meal being delivered from an autonomous vehicle (AV) or delivery robot. “The question of whether or not AVs are coming is no longer a question. Autonomous vehicles are going to eventually reach very broad adoption,” Domino’s chief digital officer Dennis Maloney told NRN during a fall 2019 visit to the brand’s headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich. 62
It’s easier than ever to create a virtual restaurant, and operators are starting to realize these “establishments” offer an easy way to test out new menu items and attract new clientele. While operators could go it on their own, third-party delivery leaders such as Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash are using their data to suggest concepts and shepherd operators through the process.
“This is where we add value — finding where customers are
Employers will consider workers’ money matters By Christi Ravneberg
The perennial challenge of retaining good employees isn’t going away any time soon. But next year, expect to see innovative restaurant companies come up with creative ways to keep their teams engaged. Outside-the-box thinking around benefits and employee quality of life has been gaining steam in recent years. In 2018, Starbucks added backup child care and elder care, and Noodles & Company rolled out expanded maternity leave benefits. Shake Shack made headlines this year by testing a four-day workweek for managers . And Table 301 Restaurant Group in Greenville, S.C., earlier this year introduced a $200 a month rent subsidy to help select employees live closer to the restaurants and cut their commutes.
asking for the food [and creating] a marriage between diners’ demand and location,” said Padma Rao, vice president of special projects at Grubhub, discussing the company’s virtual restaurant partnership with Chicago restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and Bon Appetit magazine. Another way to fulfill customers’ needs without opening a physical location is by working with the growing market of commissary kitchens established to support virtual restaurants. California-based Kitchen United is perhaps the best known in this segment. And with its recent $40 million Series B funding round, expect to see the company opening locations across the country in the year ahead. 64