While there are plenty of uncertainties that surround the details of planning a meeting, there is one inevitable truth: your attendees want to eat. Baum and Whiteman, a food and restaurant consulting company, offers a glimpse of how those eating habits may change next year with its new report, “12 Hottest Food & Beverage Dining Trends In Restaurant & Hotels, 2014.”
Here’s a look at some of the key takeaways that could make a difference on your next menu.
SEE ALSO: These Chefs are Meeting the Challenge of Attendee Dietary Restrictions
The Changing Caesar Salad
Many diners appear to be adding one surprising ingredient to the common green accompaniment.
“The no-no of Caesar salads has become respectable,” the report from Baum & Whiteman declares. “People are ordering anchovies, especially Spanish salt-packed ones called bocquerones and even fresh ones.”
Behind the Bar
Drinking is getting more adventurous, too. When your attendees aren’t at your meeting, some of them may be sampling the latest trends in cocktail creation, which include sour beer, hard cider and vermouth-based beverages. More drinking destinations are embracing gin, too. In fact, one restaurant in Midtown Manhattan stocks 38 different types of gin.
Dressed-Up Standard Serving
Every meeting planner is all too familiar with chicken. While it is a more affordably-priced entree, chefs are getting more creative with their poultry offerings around the country. The result? Creativity costs extra.
“The humble bird is going haute,” the trend report states, calling attention to examples like a $79 roast chicken for two with foie gras at New York’s Nomad and another dish served with a side of dandelions and a quail egg.
While planners won’t be adding that kind of high-priced item to menus for thousands of attendees, the shift certainly shows that attendees may want something more than the typical garlic-marinated cut of chicken.
Butter and olive oil are old-school. As chefs look to enhance the pre-entree experience, they’re adding a wide range of extras such as whipped largo, whipped beet butter, jalapeno oil and smoked eggplant dip.
Planners are constrained by budgets and dietary restrictions, but there are plenty of opportunities to reinvent the traditional meal experience at your next meeting. Click here to download the full report from Baum & Whiteman for more insights into how chefs and restaurants are infusing breakfast, lunch and dinner with new flavors and new approaches to table service.