Welcome to another edition of Table-loids, the weekly post specifically dedicated to what’s going on in your world – the world of hospitality. With the holidays approaching and a new year on the horizon, trends for 2019 were inundating my inbox. In addition, a few Tripleseat customers made some noteworthy top industry lists this week. Here’s my paired down picks for the top five pieces of information to hit the industry this past week.
1. Eater 38
Let’s start with a few of our beloved Tripleseat customers. Eater.com released its yearly America’s 38 Essential Restaurants list for 2018. This lineup is a bit different from your normal list, as it spotlights restaurants that are essential to the makeup of their communities. They’re restaurants that embrace or even initiate trends, indispensable restaurants that set the bar in hospitality. Many of the venues listed remain unchanging year to year but there are also newcomers who swoop in and raise the standards in an ever-changing environment. Making the list this of newcomers this year were Tripleseat customers Brennan’s in New Orleans, Momofuku Ko in New York City, and Smyth and the Loyalist out of Chicago. Congratulations to our Tripleseat family members who made the cut and to all of the restaurants out there that enhance neighborhoods and help to make the sometimes volatile world of hospitality a better place.
2. Best mix forward
Speaking of Tripleseat customers making lists, Antique Bar & Bakery in Hoboken, NJ, made Restaurant Hospitality’s 2018 Best Cocktails in America lineup. This list spotlights the top 10 cocktails that represent popular bar trends. Antique Bar & Bakery won for their cocktail, the Mood Ring. Comprised of Espolon Silver Tequila, St-Germain, Fever-Tree Ginger Beer, lime juice, and butterfly pea flower tea, the drink highlights the newly trendy fad of color-changing ingredients. Butterfly pea flower tea is a mild-flavored herbal tea from Southeast Asia that when mixed with acids, like lime juice, will change color. In this specific drink, the bright blue color of the tea changes to purple when lime juice is added. Stephanie O’Neill, Creator of the drink and bartender at Antique Bar & Bakery, told Restaurant Hospitality that she wanted to “bring some joy and excitement” back to sipping cocktails. With the holidays approaching and drink menus everywhere getting a makeover, this is an easy and fun way to spruce up your cocktail menu!
3. Vegan food that actually tastes good?!
You’d have to live under a rock to not know that vegan foods have been at the top of the trends list for the past few years. More and more consumers are saying farewell to animal products and hello to plant-based alternatives. Let’s be honest though, the number of yummy tasting plant-based proteins has always been few and far in-between. Well, that is, until now. Nation’s Restaurant News reported that more and more chefs are putting a lot more thought and effort into developing vegan menu items that taste as good if not better than their meat counterparts. One thought process on why this is finally happening is that the majority of people who eat a plant-based diet do so not to lose weight but for other reasons like animal protection, the environment, and health issues. This means that chefs can now create vegan dishes that aren’t low in calories or fat but instead taste really freaking good. One example outlined was a sandwich at the vegan diner, Fare Well, in Washington, D.C. Their best selling item is the Reuben sandwich, made with organic tempeh marinated in a myriad of flavorings, including mustard and apple cider vinegar, and served with house-made Swiss-cheese-style cashew spread, sauerkraut, and eggless Russian dressing, all served between two slices of marbled rye. MMMMMMM … It really does sound delicious and may even satisfy even the most stalwart meat lover. If you haven’t already, it’s definitely time to add some innovative and surprisingly tasty vegan items to your menu. It will open your restaurant up to an ever-growing community of non-meat enthusiasts.
4. No plastic, no service!
It may sound crazy to some but there are restaurants out there that won’t take your money … cash money that is. Grub Street released an article this week that explains this extremely millennial phenomenon. Beyond the annoyingness of showing up to one of these establishments with a pocket full of cash and being sent away hungry is an argument that may not have immediately struck you, that argument is centered around discrimination. Opponents are wondering what message these business owners are trying to bestow upon their would-be customers. There are a lot of reasons why someone may not have a debit or credit card. To name a few: age, people who are paid in cash, those without documentation or a fixed address, or tourists who are trying to avoid high exchange rates. Owners who have embraced this idea contend that plastic is king these days and that they know their customers and their customers have plastic. There’s reasoning for both sides of the story and I don’t think one side specifically is right. The issue will certainly spark some interesting conversations over Thanksgiving dinner and I’m interested to see if the trend will stick and spread or dissipate over time.
5. We’ve struck gold!
What once began as a way for restaurants in trend-forward cities like Brooklyn and L.A. to garner the attention of influencers and create Instagram worthy dishes, has turned into a golden frenzy reaching all facets of the industry including fast-casual. Eater.com reported that fast-food chain Popeyes released boneless wings battered in champagne and coated in 24-karat gold. The golden wings were available for one day only in just a handful of locations for only $5! Adding actual gold to food items was previously a trend that was reserved for upper-class venues or venues where hipsters visit in droves and take countless photos of their unicorn glittered pizza and gold speckled lattes to add to their Instagram stories. Not anymore, folks. I’m bracing myself for the day that I can go through a McDonald’s drive-through and order golden McNuggets for my 3-year-old. That, my friends, is the day I’ll have officially made it.
Interested in more trends?
Check out Tripleseat’s posts on trends and information for the event industry.