As the public leans toward food not only with more nutritional value, restaurants will have a harder time selling dishes that contain the worst aspects of restaurant nutrition: high fat, calories, sodium, and cholesterol. Some of the rising nutrition-related culinary trends are purely based on health, such as the raw food diet, while others such as vegan and vegetarian are more idealistic, and yet others are linked to food allergies, which are on the rise. Celiac, for example, is a disorder that requires eliminating products that contain gluten. However, going gluten-free has become one of the standard culinary trends, reaching even diners who are not sensitive to gluten. What these nutrition trends mean for businesses is a long list of restrictions that should be followed for at least some menu items. By offering at least one dish per restriction, restaurants can draw in more customers, increasing restaurant profit. Restaurants with healthy menu options usually already offer dishes that cater to these culinary trends. In this case, making changes to the menu to better accommodate customers following nutrition trends, is more optional.
A Dish for Each of the Nutrition Culinary Trends
A restaurant does not have to be a healthy restaurant to appease customers looking for nutritional value. Restaurants with healthy menu options are already at an instant advantage when it comes to current culinary trends and attracting customers. However, by ensuring that at least some dishes on the menu cater to nutrition-related culinary trends, restaurant nutrition can draw customers to a venue. Chefs and restaurant managers can begin the process of drafting menus that accommodate nutrition and culinary trends by listing the relevant culinary trends and selecting dishes to match accordingly. Many of the dishes chosen will, by default, satisfy a few diets. For example, a vegan soup without ingredients containing gluten can be eaten by lactose-intolerant, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and celiac diners. However, dishes that follow nutrition-related culinary trends can go beyond preparing salads and soups. Vegan, gluten-free pasta dishes are also great options that cater to these special diets. In fact, the list of possible menu items that cater to health-related culinary trends is exhaustive. By brainstorming and planning the menu, restaurant nutrition can be boosted, drawing more customers and ultimately increasing restaurant profit.
Nutrition trends can make it hard for restaurants that are not defined as healthy restaurants, to draw customers interested in healthy menu options. In a 2007 study, 27% of restaurant chains said they tried to avoid losing those consumers looking for a healthy restaurant by offering foods low in fat and calories. However, healthy dishes tend to be more expensive, consisting of produce, long prep time, and short shelf life, even when refrigerated. By adopting tactics to even out food-costs of healthy food, while offering options that complement the current nutrition trends, restaurants can appease customers and increase their restaurant profits.