For me, May has always been a month of anticipation. The promise of spring weather, the closing of the school year… May is the best!
As a publicist at one of the top franchise public relations firms, May now means anticipation for another annual pivot point- the NRA show. No, I’m not talking about that NRA (Konnect Daily is a politics-free zone!), I’m talking about the National Restaurant Association’s annual show.
This year, restaurateurs, franchisors and industry veterans from around the world descended on Chicago’s McCormick Place to share and discover the latest and greatest in the world of food service. Lucky for those of us who were not able to attend, two of my favorite trade writers, Bret Thorn and Nancy Kruse did, and shared their fabulous findings. So, what should we be looking for on menus across America in 2018?
Protein Alternatives Perhaps one of the best examples is Konnect’s own client, Fatburger, who was among the first ‘better-burger’ chains to get behind the “bleeding” vegan Impossible Burger at all locations last fall. It looks like 2018 will be another year of chickpeas and peas, which are being used as a base not just for more falafel than ever, but pasta, patties, chicken wings, sausages and more.
Instagrammable Foods No shocker here. One of Nancy’s favorite finds was the ‘coffee in a cone’ concept, which is exactly what it sounds like – hot coffee (or chocolate, if you’d like) served in an ice-cream-cone like wafer shell.
Socially-Oriented Offerings As Millennials continue to shake up the industry with their preferences, more and more restaurants choose to carry items and ingredients with a social mission. My favorite story was that of Rumi’s Afghani saffron, which was founded by US military veterans and is the largest private-sector employer of Afghan women.
Nitro Cold Brew No longer a creamy treat found exclusively in specialty stores and coffeehouses, Nitro Cold brew certainly seems like it’s here to stay. I’m curious to try a new trend from Las Vegas called cheese tea, which spoons ’thinned’ cream cheese over flavored ice teas. I’m already a sucker for milk teas here in New York.
Thanks to shows and reports like this, to me, it’s always a treat to work in food and beverage PR.
From New York,