F&B trends

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Put Your Finger on the Culinary TrendPulse

Put Your Finger on the Culinary TrendPulse

by David Klemt

Elote or street corn-style dish on a table

An informative and engaging culinary trend report from Campbell’s Foodservice provides compelling insight that will help operators refresh their menus.

Recently, Campbell’s dropped their Culinary TrendPulse 2024 report. To download your own copy, click here.

Executive chef Gerald Drummond and senior chef Greg Boggs have identified four culinary trends for 2024. The chefs analyzed data provided by Campbell’s Foodservice and the company’s partners.

As has become commonplace, Campbell’s also took note of food and flavor social media mentions and conversations. This makes sense; if people are talking about it on social media, it’s probably growing in demand.

Now, I’m going to share each of the trends below. However, I’m going to laser in on one in particular. My reasoning is simple: It’s a compelling take on segment that has been experiencing growth, along with the accompanying growing pains.

To start, though, a brief look at three of the 2024 culinary trends identified by Chefs Drummond and Boggs.

TrendPulse 2024: Trends 1, 3 and 4

To put it bluntly, I think the first trend in this report is here to stay. It’s safe to say it has reached the proliferation stage.

So, when I see “global cuisine” in reports, I don’t really consider it a trend. What I want to see is specific cuisines, dishes or flavors identified as trending.

Fortunately, Chefs Drummond and Boggs have identified three global cuisines on the rise. Per the chefs and Campbell’s, Mexican, Asian, and North African cuisines are on an upward trend in the US.

In particular, operators should be aware of the following:

  • Asian cuisine: Korean, Souteast Asian, and Thai food are on the rise.
  • Mexican cuisine: birria, quesabirria, birriamen, chamoy, and street corn mentions have grown in menu mentions and social discussions.
  • North African cuisine is projected to grow by more than 12 percent on menus, year over year. Currently, operators should look at harissa, tagine, and peri-peri (a.k.a. piri-piri, or peli-peli).

Another trend from this report is “new nostalgia.” As the term suggests, consumers are showing interest in creative spins on well-known comfort foods.

Likely driven at least in part by global cuisines, heat is also on the rise. I mean that figuratively and literally.

Per a Tastewise data point cited in the Campbell’s report, sweet and spicy mentionsknown as “swicy”—have grown nearly 50 percent over the past year.

TrendPulse 2024: Trend 2

Alright, so here’s the trend that stands out to me.

According to Chefs Drummond and Boggs, consumers are still very much interested in plant-based cuisine. However, they want actual plants to be the stars.

Or, as Campbell’s puts it in their report, one of their top trends is “putting plants back in plant-based.” Interestingly, this trend fits with the first one in the Campbell’s report: global cuisine.

Per a Technomic report cited by Campbell’s, 41 percent of consumers eat a vegetarian or vegan dish at least once per week. However, it seems that these same consumers are showing a preference for actual plants.

Most plant-based meat alternatives are processed foods. In fact, some sources designate them “ultra-processed foods.” Today’s consumer is more educated on processed foods and seeks to avoid them.

So, operators should menu more dishes that feature plants. There’s a place for plant-based meat alternatives but their highly processed nature may be putting off a not-insignificant number of consumers.

In their report, Campbell’s suggests offering dishes featuring the following proteins: beans, legumes, and pulses.

Look, trend predictions are guesses. In this case, they’re data-driven and educated, but they’re still guesses. When considering menu changes, operators need to make choices that make sense for their business, guests, and market.

If you’re like me, you’ve noticed that all four of these trends pair well with one another. Operators should encourage their kitchen teams to get creative and craft new dishes that leverage two or more of the above trends.

Image: Aleisha Kalina on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Top 11 Pizza Styles Going Into 2024

Top 10 Pizza Styles Going Into 2024

by David Klemt

Pizza being put into a pizza oven

Pizza-centric publication Pizza Today‘s 2024 industry trends report contains an incredible amount of information, including the top pizza styles in North America.

There’s a tie for the tenth spot on their ranking, so I dive into 11 styles of pizza in this article. As you’ll see, having grown up in the area, I have a lot of thoughts on Chicago’s pizza styles.

This is one of the most fun topics I’ve ever researched and I hope you find this information helpful for your restaurant or bar.


Top Pizza Styles

10 Chicago Thick (tie)

Because Deep Dish is also on this list, I’m going to assume Pizza Today means Pan pizza. If this is accurate, it’s the cooking vessel that’s the big difference.

Whereas Deep Dish is cooked in a cast-iron pan, Chicago-style Pan pizza is cooked in either a cake pan or cast-iron skillet. Another difference is the resulting crust: Deep Dish features a thick, pie-like crust, while Pan has a medium-thick crust that’s similar in texture and chew to bread.

One more big difference comes down to the layering of the ingredients. In a Pan pizza, the traditional order is followed: sauce goes on the crust, cheese goes on the sauce, and additional ingredients go on top of the cheese.

10 NEOpolitan / Neo-Neapolitan (tie)

As the name implies, this is a modern variation of the classic Neapolitan or Napoletana style. It’s also sometimes referred to as Neo-Classica.

The biggest overall difference between this style and its traditional counterpart is the adherence to strict rules. NEOpolitan eschews several rules, which you’ll find further down the list in this article.

Some deviations include oven style (NEOpolitan doesn’t require a wood-burning oven); temperature (700-730° F); cook time (120-150 seconds); and ingredients (anything goes).

9 California / American Artisan

The base of a California-style pizza is an Italian- or New York-style crust. From there, the tenets of California cuisine take over.

This style focuses on highlighting fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. So, think traditional crust with nontraditional ingredients when considering this style.

As far as the American Artisan designation, California style falls into this categorization. An artisan pizza is made by hand without the use of automation, so American Artisan is a style uniquely, well, American.

8 Grandma

The Grandma-style pizza is thought to come to us from Long Island, New York.

This simple style is usually rectangular due to being cooked in a sheet pan, and the pan is oiled heavily. The order of ingredients is crust, cheese, tomato sauce. However, these pizzas are often finished with a garlic-infused olive oil, oregano, and Pecorino Romano cheese.

Grandma pizza is thicker than New York-style but nowhere near as thick as Detroit, Sicilian, or Deep Dish. It’s cut into squares before being served.

7 Detroit

According to Pizza Today, this is the fastest-growing pizza style in America.

As the story goes, this descendant of thick Sicilian-style pizza was created in a speakeasy in mid-1940s Detroit. The owner of Buddy’s Rendezvous, Gus Guerra, wanted to add something new to his neighborhood bar’s menu. The history is a bit hazy regarding where he got the recipe for a Sicilian pizza, but he cooked it in a few (hopefully unused) deep, steel industrial pans from a friend who worked in a factory.

So, a traditional Detroit pizza is a Deep Dish cooked in a deep, rectangular, steel pan. The original version calls for a rich tomato sauce and Wisconsin brick Cheddar cheese topped with pepperonis, all cooked at 230° F. As for layers, it goes crust, pepperonis, sauce, then cheese, traditionally. Once the cheese is caramelized, any additional toppings are placed on top, along with more red sauce. On the Detroit pizzas I’ve had, the red sauce on top consisted of one horizontal stripe and one vertical.

If you think things are too quiet and boring while you’re hanging out at a restaurant that serves Detroit-style or Chicago-style Deep Dish pizza, comment loudly that one is better than the other and the “true” or “superior” Deep Dish.

Fun trivia: Domino’s, Little Caesars, and Hungry Howies are all from Michigan.

6 Chicago Thin

If you want to start a passionate debate, walk into a bar serving Chicago Thin or Tavern-style pizza and say it’s the city’s true style.

Half (or perhaps more) of the Chicagoans within earshot will agree with you. Others, not so much.

At any rate, this pizza is known for its thin, cracker-like crust. It’s round and will be cut into square before being served.

Oh, and if you’d like to start another “spirited” argument, mention St. Louis when talking about Chicago Thin or Tavern-style pizza. Some people from “the Gateway to the West” like to Amedeo Fiore invented this style. However, people from the south side of Chicago will let you know in no uncertain terms that the style didn’t find its way to St. Louis until after Fiore moved there from “the Windy City.” Further, Chicago’s (original) version consists of a dough made with yeast paired with mozzarella cheese. St. Louis style is made without yeast and features Provel cheese.

5 Neapolitan / Napoletana

This is arguably the pizza style with the strictest rules. For example, these pizzas must be cooked in a word-burning oven at 800° F for 90 seconds.

All of the ingredients must originate from Italy. Additionally, no more than three ingredients may be used for a single pizza.

Further, all Neapolitan or Napoletana pizzas must be finished with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh basil.

4 Deep Dish

People outside of Chicago likely believe the city’s pizza style is called Deep Dish. Unfortunately, that’s a prevalent misconception. Of course, it doesn’t help that Deep Dish is a Chicago invention, leading to most people thinking that Chicago Style and Deep Dish are synonymous. Yes, Chicago Deep Dish is a style, but so are Stuffed and Pan.

I’m going to take a stab at understanding what Pizza Today means when they refer to Deep Dish. Forewarning: I could be wrong.

Speaking generally, a Deep Dish pizza is cooked in an oiled cast-iron pan. Essentially, it’s a pie. The flaky crust is high (two inches isn’t uncommon) and the person prepping the pizza changes the traditional order of the layers. Unlike a traditional or Pan pizza, the order for a Deep Dish pizza is crust, cheese, sauce, other toppings. This approach to layering is to avoid burning the cheese since these pizzas spend so much time in ovens.

Now, if Pizza Today means Stuffed, there’s a bit of a difference between than that and Deep Dish. First, Stuffed is made in a pan even deeper than those that produce Deep Dish pizzas. Second, an extra layer of crust covers much more cheese than you’ll find in a Deep Dish pizza, and this layer is covered in sauce. So, the order is crust, toppings, lots of cheese, crust, sauce.

3 Sicilian

This is a style of pizza originating from, you guessed it, Sicily. Moreover, it’s one of the most traditional types of pizza…when we’re talking about Sicilian versus New York Sicilian.

For the former, the pizza is characterized by a square, thick, spongy dough. The sauce is made with tomato, onion, anchovy, and herbs. From what I understand, the sauce also contains no meat.

Traditionally speaking, hard goat or sheep’s cheese is grated on top, and the pizza is also topped with breadcrumbs.

When it arrived in America, tomato sauce and mozzarella replaced the traditional sauce and hard cheeses. This development very likely comes down to the ease of finding readily available and affordable ingredients. Additionally, some people made round Sicilian pizzas rather than square.

2 Traditional American

Simply put, Traditional American pizza is just a slightly different version of New York style.

It’s a bit thicker than New York, but it still has the raised “border” encircling it. Often, this style features more cheese than its Big Apple counterpart.

A Traditional American pizza can be hand-tossed, pressed, or hand-formed.

1 New York

Unless you’re from Chicago or Detroit, this is probably what you think of when you think “pizza.”

A New York pizza is hand-tossed, large, and defined by its characteristic thin crust. The slices tend to be extra large and capable of being folded for eating on the go. In fact, I once watched two friends, one from New York and one from Chicago, almost come to blows when the former threatened to attempt to fold his slice of Deep Dish in front of the latter. They had to be separated.

Traditionally, there are just two toppings on the crust: tomato sauce and cheese. However, these pizzas are a blank slate for all manner of toppings.

Top Trending Styles

As you’ll see, there’s a tie for second place as far as the trending pizza styles in 2024, according to Pizza Today.

  1. Chicago Thin
  2. New York
  3. Sicilian
  4. Deep Dish and Grandma (tie)
  5. Detroit

Per the pizza-centric publication, this is Detroit’s second year as the reigning trending pizza style.

Now that you know the top pizza styles in North America, know this: Pizza Today’s data indicate that today’s consumer expect to be able to order multiple styles of pizza from one pizzeria. Develop your menu accordingly.

Image: Fabrizio Pullara on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Restaurant Business Plan. Feasibility Study. Concept. Branding. Consultant. Start-Up.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

DoorDash Names 2023 Global F&B Trends

DoorDash Names 2023 Global F&B Trends

by David Klemt

Chef torching salmon sushi

As we get close to winding down 2023 and welcoming 2024, DoorDash takes a shot at identifying the global F&B trends to watch.

This is an exciting and insightful time of year for our industry. In the last quarter, different sources start publishing their data-backed F&B predictions for the year ahead.

Take, for example, Technomic’s Global, Canadian, and American trend predictions for 2023. Oh, and don’t worry—we’ll be taking a look at their predictions for 2024 soon.

Today, however, we’re checking in on DoorDash. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of third-party delivery. It’s no secret I favor direct delivery for operators.

There’s no denying, though, that third-party delivery companies have access to valuable data. From the top food and drink orders to the dayparts seeing the most delivery and pickup order growth, they can help operators see shifts in consumer behavior.

So, I’m happy to take a look at what food trends DoorDash thinks operators should watch moving forward.

Before we jump in, I’m happy that DoorDash includes this cautionary statement in their article: “Finally, always consider whether or not a trend actually fits in at your restaurant.”

At KRG Hospitality, we couldn’t agree more. Jumping on every trend, as tempting as that may be, is unwise and can do harm than good. So, while the lists below identify trends that are gaining traction currently, operators need to be discerning.

Food Trends

Let’s start with a trend multiple sources identified toward the end of 2022 that appears to still be on an upward trajectory: pickles.

Seriously, it seems that people can’t get enough pickles. Pickle pizza appears to the current darling when it comes to this food trend. Speaking of pizza, DoorDash sees square pizzas as a trend to watch.

Another trend that multiple sources have been keeping tabs on is chimichurri. According to DoorDash, this condiment is finding its way onto all manner of food item.

Other food trends that operators should be aware of are bowls (deconstruct a sandwich, burrito, etc., and you have a bowl); oyster mushrooms subbing in for meat; higher-end tinned fish; and gluten-free menu options.

To be honest, I don’t think that last one is just a trend. At this point, offering gluten-free options or entire menus is mainstream.

Now, there are two more food trends I want to address separately. One, smaller menus. This is a trend I believe most operators can and should get behind. Shrinking a menu can result in lower food and labor costs, and a happier team. Making a menu smaller can also make a restaurant more nimble and engaging as LTOs may have more impact.

And then there’s aburi sushi, which is presented after the top of the fish is torched. This gives sushi a smoky flavor and brings in a different texture element.

To be fair, I’ve expected this to take off for the past several years. Now, it appears it’s taking hold and moving from fad to trend.

TikTok Trends

Yes, we have to talk about TikTok. There’s no question that the platform is a trend-producing powerhouse.

Clearly, TikTok has an influence on food trends. If you want to know what your younger guests want to try, check TikTok. The same goes for your guests who are highly engaged with social media influencers.

Below, the trends DoorDash sees taking hold.

  • Chopped sandwiches. Do you have sandwiches on your menu? Can your guests watch as your team makes them? You may want to create a chopped version of your signature or best-selling sandwich.
  • Pasta salad summer. Apparently, this summer was the Summer of Pasta Salad. Specifically, pasta salads made with fresh ingredients, and made without ingredients like mayonnaise.
  • Cottage cheese. According to DoorDash, TikTokers are putting cottage cheese in scrambled eggs, adding it to pasta sauce, and using it to make cheese toasts. I’ve personally tried the TikTok trend of using cottage cheese to make nacho cheese sauce.

One word of caution: TikTok trends come and go in the blink of an eye. So, operators need to hop on trends that work with their restaurant or bar before they’re already out of favor. It’s a daunting task.

To review this DoorDash report in its entirety, including beverage and grocery trends, follow this link.

Image: Ivan Samkov on Pexels

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

American Trends 2023: Technomic

American Trends 2023: Technomic

by David Klemt

Pink pineapple against pink background

Foodservice research firm Technomic has some interesting predictions for the hospitality industry in the United States of America this year.

On the topic of operations, Technomic foresees more negotiating power among workers. Additionally, the firm looks at both the economy and pent-up guest demand.

When it comes to food, the US and Canada have a trend prediction in common. And as the image atop this article signifies, a particular color may be a hit on menus in 2023.

Before we jump in, Technomic’s 2023 Canadian trend predictions are here. Last year’s Technomic predictions for America are here. Curious readers can review the firm’s 2023 predictions in their entirety here.

Okay, let’s go!

Think Pink

I want to address this prediction first. According to Technomic, pink is going to be the F&B color of 2023.

As they explain, the color is fun, nostalgic, and photogenic. Yes, operators must still consider the Instagram-worthiness of their menu items. That may change one day, but it’s not today.

Per Technomic, pink also signals that a food or drink may have antioxidants.

Some of the items the research firm names specifically: pink pineapple, pink salt, pink celery, cara cara oranges, and schisandra berries.

Pickle It

This is the culinary trend that, per Technomic, Canada and America will share in 2023.

Along with fermenting, pickling gives the kitchen and bar teams a unique experimentation method to explore. So, encourage these teams to get creative and add pickling and fermentation to your next menu update.

Of course, that’s not the only reason to consider putting pickling front and center. For many, these preparations indicate a healthy F&B choice. Think kombucha, as an example.

As we know, healthy choices continue to be top of mind for many guests.

One more note: Technomic suggests being transparent and identifying the pickling and fermenting processes your team leverages to produce each menu item.


For those looking for a bit of optimism in these trying times, Technomic may have what you’re looking for. This year’s report, What We Foresee for 2023, says the following about the possibility of a recession:

“There is reason for optimism in the coming year, however, as any recession is expected to be relatively mild.”

Yes, that’s just one source’s opinion. However, Technomic is known for their voraciousness when it comes to data. So, if this firm is optimistic it could be a solid sign that things are looking up in 2023.

“Pent-up consumer demand” and variations thereof have been making the rounds since 2o21. However, it’s still a relevant phrase.

As it pertains to 2023, Technomic believes on-premise dining may “bounce back” this year. In fact, the firm suggests that people want to socialize and dine in person now more than ever.

Also, delivery and pickup times appear to be growing. So, plenty of people will see in-person dining as the more appealing option in 2023.


In part due to legislation addressing minimum wage and workplace conditions, employees may have the upper hand this year.

Add the fact that many people seeking work know many operators are dealing with a labor shortage and their negotiating position looks even stronger.

So, we could finally be in for a significant change when it comes to how the industry looks at compensation. More and more workers—and the guests they serve—are taking issue with tipping. Instead, many people outside and inside of the industry want to see operators pay staff a competitive, living wage.

Of course, there are also the hospitality professionals who prefer tips to minimum wage. In 2023, the industry could experience the start of a sea change. Time will tell.

For more predictions and this Technomic report in its entirety, please click here.

Image: Alex Gruber on Unsplash