Would you believe that GQ magazine’s burger of the year for 2016 was tofu-based? It’s the truth. While red-blooded meat lovers may have a hard time reconciling themselves to this, more people want to eat vegetarian meals at American restaurants than ever before.

Vegetarian options at U.S. dining establishments used to consist mostly of side dishes and salads, but now more than a third of all restaurants include a vegetarian main dish on their menu. The number of restaurants offering plant-based entries has jumped 6.3 percent in the last four years, and National Restaurant Association director of research communications Annika Stensson predicts that 2016 will see those numbers increase even more. As always seems to be the case for hot menu trends, Millennials are the main drivers of the vegetable boom, with 14 percent of Millennial consumers reporting they order only plant-based foods when eating out.

What does that mean for you? It means that if you don’t have at least one veggie protein based dish on your menu, you’re being left behind by changing consumer preferences. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to include plant protein on your menu, with startups like Beyond Meat offering substitutes for animal products that taste like the real thing.

Read the full article here: Plants Will Continue to Take Over The Plate in 2016


Catherine Lamb of Lucky Peach magazine recently went where no baker has gone before. Inspired by futurists’ predictions that humans will be forced to eat insects soon, she decided to see which type of ground-up insect made for the best Toll house chocolate chip cookies. Of the four bug flours she tried, only earthworm made abjectly horrible cookies. Maybe our bug-eating future won’t be as bad as it sounds!

Read the full article here: Baking With Insect Flour


Automation technology has revolutionized the quick-service and fast-casual restaurant industry. These sorts of businesses use automated inventory tracking, POS systems, and food safety solutions to take some of the guesswork and labor out of running a restaurant. For some reason, full-service restaurants have been slower to embrace the automation revolution. This is a shame, because automated systems have the potential to make inventory management, staff training and other parts of running a full-service restaurant easier and more efficient.

Read the full article here: Automation Technology: Maximizing Your Restaurant Operations’ Full Potential


When Farouk Diab emigrated from Israel to the U.S. in 1975, the first job he got was as a pat-time janitor at a Wienerschnitzel. Within two years, he had worked all the jobs at the restaurant and was given the chance to become a franchisee. He’s been the number one franchisee for the chain one the last 20 years, and his undeniable work ethic has led him to open up locations of two other restaurant chains. Farouk’s uplifting story shows that franchise businesses give opportunities for success to anyone who is willing to work hard and climb up the ladder.

Read the full article here: Top Dog: From Part-Time Janitor to Largest Franchisee


Food quality is obviously the most crucial factor by which to rate restaurants, but it isn’t the only important facet of the dining experience. Well-done interior decor can elevate a restaurant from being merely good to great. Eater has collected the 15 best-looking restaurants of 2015, and boy are they stunners. Eater’s “Stone cold Stunner of the Year” is Savannah, Georgia’s The Grey. This modern American destination lives in a refurbished bus station, and its interior decor resides in a middle ground between retro comfort and modern industrial style.

Read the full article here: The 15 Most Beautiful Restaurants of 2015


In an interview with the food website Lucky Peach, former New York Times recipe writer Mark Bittman said that he thinks there should be a legal minimum drinking age for soda. He argued that given soda’s proven health risks, it should be treated like alcohol or tobacco and be forbidden for people who are too young to make rational decisions.

Pittman acknowledges that his idea is far-fetched and unlikely to be put into place anytime soon, but he insists that soda should not be marketed to kids. While a legal drinking age for soda won’t happen until far into the future, if at all, many food chains in the U.S. are adapting to the growing consensus that too much soda is harmful for kids by offering alternative beverages for children or eliminating soda entirely from their kids’ menus.

It seems rather draconian to legally prevent children from drinking soda, and there’s no reason why it can’t be an occasional treat, but Bittman is right in saying that the amount of soda an average American child drinks at the moment is far too much. Hopefully the private sector can adjust the foods they market to children so that a health crisis can be averted without the government stepping in.

Read the full article here: Minimum Drinking Age For… Soda?


The Miss Universe Pageant has been all over the internet of late because host Steve Harvey initially crowned first runner-up Ariadna Gutierrez-Arevalo as the winner before realizing his mistake and taking her crown away. Burger King took advantage of the brouhaha surrounding the pageant by tweeting a picture of someone wearing a Burger King crown with the caption “At BK everyone gets to keep their crown.” This is as solid an example of corporate restaurant Twitter as you’ll ever see.

Read the full article here: Burger King Miss Universe Tweet is a Crowning Achievement


Culinary consumers are showing a greater willingness to be challenged of late, and restaurants are taking advantage by filling their menus with bold flavors. Salty, spicy and sour have all became popular in recent years, but the newest flavor trend on American menus is bitter. Bitter first became popular in the beverage world, with cocktail bitters, mouth-puckering IPAs and black coffee making customers go wild. Now bitter flavors are expanding into the solid realm, with foods like kale, brussels sprouts and bitter chocolate showing up on more and more American food menus.

Read the full article here: Consumer Craving for Bitter Flavors Increases as Trend Grows Beyond Cocktails


pfs-logo-600Anyone who’s ever worked in a kitchen knows that there is a serious gender disparity in the restaurant industry. Despite gains in recent years, most chefs in American restaurants are still male. The James Beard Foundation is trying to change that with their Women in Culinary Leadership grant program.

The grant is designed to help female chefs and restaurateurs with at least two years of experience in food service kick their careers into high gear. Grant winners are placed in training positions with upper echelon chefs. This year 22 grants are available, three times more than last year. Applications for 2016 are due on Jan. 20. In addition to mentorship, grant winners will receive $500 a week to cover living expenses during the training period.

It’s great that the James Beard Foundation is a leader in restaurant gender equality. Studies show that having a relatively equal mix of men and women in any field increases creativity and problem-solving. The restaurant industry needs creativity to thrive, so having more women in the kitchen doesn’t just benefit female chefs, it benefits anyone who works in food service.

Read the full article here: Opportunity Knock for Ambitious Female Chef/Restaurateurs


Many restaurants are embracing digital point-of-sale technology but a recent study showed that 63 percent of restaurants still don’t use digital POS systems. Justin Guinn, a restaurant researcher at Software Advice, says that the number one reason restaurant owners give for not switching to digital is cost. However, digital POS systems are now much more affordable than they were even 2 years ago, and as they continue to get cheaper more restaurant will adopt them.

Read the full article here: Saying Nor to Digital: Why Haven’t All Restaurateurs Embraced New POS Systems?