4 Must-Haves For Your Fall Menu

As the heat of summer cools off, it’s time to start thinking about your seasonal fall menu. To help you do just that, here are four food trends that are taking over this fall, along with tips for incorporating them into your menu.

1. Ethnic spices  

Move over cinnamon and pumpkin spice — Middle Eastern and South Asian spices like cardamom and turmeric are making their way into mainstream culinary circles this year. And fall is a perfect time to introduce these lively spices into your dishes.

These spices have been around for thousands of years, but are now gaining popularity among chefs in the U.S. Caraway sales were up 40% in 2016, with saffron and horseradish following with 30% increases, according to restaurant consulting firm Baum+Whiteman. The vibrant tastes and warm, bright colors of these spices bring new life to cuisines — making these diverse flavors a perfect addition to your menu. 

2. Vegetables as the spotlight

In 2016, 26% of consumers said they were eating less meat, and 2017 has already seen a spike in the number of people who identify as “flexitarians.” This new, health-focused movement of customers actively seeking out meatless options — while occasionally indulging in a meat or fish dish — is reflective of a desire to eat sustainably. Customers are expecting more variety on the menu when they dine out, including innovative and tasty meatless dishes. Many restaurants are taking the cue to use vegetables in creative ways by putting vegetables center stage as opposed to being on the side.

Traditional fall vegetables like cauliflower, squash and brussel sprouts lay the perfect foundation for a veggie-centric meal. Roasted cauliflower steaks with pine nuts, barbecue pulled jackfruit tacos and portobello wellington are three ways to reshape how your guests view veggies.

3. Brisket goes year round

Just because vegetarian meals are on the rise, doesn’t mean meat is taking a backseat. Though typically known as a summertime staple, brisket is expected to be prominent this fall. In fact, our data revealed a 95% increase in brisket orders last year, and that number is expected to grow as the cold weather sets in — because what’s better on a brisk fall day than warm brisket? Also, Brisket isn’t a food people typically prepare at home, increasing the appeal of ordering it from a restaurant.

4. Tradition and heritage

Fall tends to be a time of gathering with loved ones and sharing hearty meals. Tap into these traditional values by introducing dishes that reflect heritage — from homestyle comfort food to dishes from one’s country of origin. For example, when serving an Italian seafood dish, consider using clams and fish sourced from the Mediterranean, or serving baked macaroni and cheese using a family recipe. Authentic flavors and locally-sourced ingredients are great ways to remind customers of the comfort of home.

Enhance your menu with dishes that go beyond the routine fall offerings seen year after year — these menu must-haves are sure to help your restaurant stand out all season long.

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