Keeping the foodservice equipment marketplace up to date with the latest menu and concept trends.


                              For a moment, the future of expediting stations looked bleak. With the pandemic causing indoor dining closures and reduced dining room capacity nationwide, some operators and designers were left wondering if the traditional kitchen pass-through would suddenly turn into nothing more than a holding and filling station for takeout containers and to-go bags.

                              Some dining adjustments made to cope with COVID-19 may be abandoned once public life returns to normal, but others will become permanent fixtures in American lifestyles. One of the habits with staying power: three-season outdoor dining.

                              In our conversations with foodservice designers lately, it seems — at least for some — deadlines are approaching faster as projects put on hold during the pandemic are ramping up.

                              Fermented foods are on the hot list for chefs today. Fermented foods first made waves in the foodservice industry back in 2018, with use up 149% in restaurants that year, according to Statistica. Fermentation can help stem product waste by providing a way to preserve unused ingredients.

                              The breakfast segment may face a more challenging recovery than other dayparts since the morning commute has yet to return to normal. Mintel predicts between 2022 and 2025, chains will divert resources from breakfast programs to mid-morning and afternoon occasions. 

                              Are vertical and indoor farms going to evolve in the foodservice arena?

                              Since the pandemic burst onto the scene in the spring of 2020, the struggles of restaurant and foodservice operators have been well documented.

                              What a year it’s been. Forced by pandemic-induced closures, capacity restrictions and dramatic changes in consumer behavior, the foodservice industry has experienced what at this time last year might have seemed like an apocalyptic sci-fi narrative.

                              Long a mainstay of the catering world, hot holding units continue to gain traction in restaurants seeking to offer high-quality food to off-premises guests. Here are a few tips to keeping these units working well.

                              With the complexity of running a restaurant or other foodservice institution, it’s all too easy to lose track of the waste stream. “Controlling waste is about menu, mindset and management,” says foodservice consultant Arlene Spiegel, FCSI, of New York-based Arlene Spiegel & Associates. “At the end of the day, did you sell out or throw out food? Did you overproduce, or are you forecasting production correctly?”

                              While most restaurants have been open in some capacity for months, other foodservice operations, such as corporate feeders and school cafeterias, are just starting to reopen.

                              No operator wants to make an emergency repair call, but sometimes they’re completely unavoidable.

                              The java segment continues to evolve with cold brew, functional ingredients, global varieties and new flavors proliferating.

                              In a time when just holding on would suffice, some restaurant operators continue to plow ahead, determined to grow. It’s an inspired group. These five multiunit operators have an acute focus on their niche and a solid plan for growth, which for most means a slow and steady approach to expansion — with one intent on moving at super speed.

                              While ice cream shops continue to innovate and expand offerings, frozen yogurt concepts have experienced more challenges.

                              By taking care of equipment and working closely with service agencies, operators can reduce their repair costs and help keep staffers safe.