• NRA
    NRA We Serve America's Restaurants Representing nearly 500,000 restaurant businesses, we advocate for restaurant and foodservice industry interests and provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes achieve success.
  • NRAEF
    NRAEF Building & Retaining Talent The NRAEF is focused on developing a stronger workforce and building the next generation of industry leaders through education, scholarships and community engagement.
  • NRA Show
    NRA Show May 19-22, 2018 As the international foodservice marketplace, the NRA Show provides unparalleled opportunities for buyers and sellers to come together, conduct business and learn from each other.
  • ServSafe
    ServSafe Minimize Risk. Maximize Protection. For over 40 years, ServSafe® training programs have delivered the knowledge, leadership and protection that have earned the trust and confidence of business leaders everywhere.

National Restaurant Association - What’s Hot? Familiarity, simplicity breed comfort

Skip to navigation Skip to content

News & Research

Share:
Email Print
News RSS

What’s Hot? Familiarity, simplicity breed comfort

Consumer trends can be fickle, but when it comes to food, maybe we are more creatures of habit than we realize. Our list of HOT trends for 2018 shows that when it comes to dining out, the more things change, the more they sometimes stay the same.

Steak and ketchup, anyone? For our 2018 What’s Hot survey, we asked 700 American Culinary Federation chefs what they thought would be the most prominent menu trends for the coming year. We discovered that several were similar to ones identified in 2017. Once again, new cuts of meat such as shoulder tender, oyster steak, Vegas strip and Merlot cut, nabbed the top spot on our list of Top 20 food trends. Why so popular? It’s all related to affordability, flavor and grill-worthiness. Jumping up five spots, house-made condiments hit No. 2. Chefs say they’re simple to make, but seem exotic to guests when they appear on their tables. Falling from No. 2 to No. 3 this year is street-food inspired dishes. These are the go-to meals for adventurous diners. Popular picks include, tempura, kabobs, dumplings and pupusas.

Also making repeat appearances are ethnic-inspired breakfast foods (4), sustainable seafood (5) and healthful kids meals (6)


"Guests are implementing these trends in their own lifestyles and want to see them reflected in the food they eat at restaurants. In response, chefs are creating more items in-house and turning to global flavors to infuse their menus.”

Hudson Riehle, SVP Research,
National Restaurant Association


Fine fast-casual food with a side of local sourcing. Among the Top 10 concept trends, hyper-local sourcing foods grown, picked and processed on the restaurant’s premises will be tops in 2018. Chef-driven fast-casual concepts hit No. 2. Clean menus, food waste reduction, veggie-centric cuisine and environmental sustainability took the third, fourth, fifth and sixth spots, respectively.

Chillin’… off. What’s not so hot anymore? The chefs say meals in mason jars, offal, pumpkin spice and flavored popcorn are “yesterday’s news.” But, perennial favorites include shellfish, barbecue, bacon and comfort foods.

For complete survey results, additional trends to watch, video and downloadable graphics, visit www.restaurant.org/foodtrends.

Conserve RSS Healthcare RSS Conserve RSS

▲ Back to Top

New report

Spot Ad right

We're glad you're here!®

® 2012-2017 National Restaurant Association. All rights reserved.

2055 L St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20036
(202) 331-5900 | (800) 424-5156