I always get excited when the National Restaurant Association publishes their annual “What’s Hot” list of culinary trends for the coming year.
Below is a list of some of the top trends for 2014, and an example of what we’re planning (or already doing!) to keep up with each. For Eat’n Park, though some of these items may be trendy, they’re already old hat for us. For instance, we’ve been passionate about local sourcing for more than 10 years. We’re excited that other restaurants are catching on – the more our industry can support local producers, the better it is for everyone! Read on for the rest of this year’s trends.
1. Locally sourced meats and seafood
We source our bacon, sausage and hams from Clemens Food Group in Hatfield, PA. We also purchase Capocollo and Chorizo Sausage from Parma Sausage in the Strip District.
2. Locally grown produce
We’ve been sourcing locally-grown produce since 2002. Click here to learn more about our FarmSource program. This program has continued to grow, and now incorporates not just produce, but dairy, meat, and artisanal products as well.
3. Environmental sustainability
Did you know that 100% of our restaurants recycle cardboard and fryer oil, and 75% of them recycle glass and aluminum? Sustainability is a huge part of our company culture.
4. Healthful kids’ meals
We offer a variety of healthy menu items for kids, including our Soup, Salad and Fruit Bar! It’s actually our #1 seller for kids!
5. Gluten-free cuisine
We take food allergies very seriously and are proud to offer a celiac-friendly menu.
6. Hyper-local sourcing (e.g. restaurant gardens)
We aren’t able to have gardens at all of our Eat’n Park restaurants, however both The Porch at Schenley and Six Penn Kitchen (two of our other restaurant concepts) have rooftop gardens.
7. Children’s nutrition
Through our LifeSmiles program, we are investing $1 million and 20,000 volunteer hours over a five year span to support health and wellness initiatives aimed at families.
8. Sustainable seafood
The cod used in our Baked Cod Floridian, Nantucket Cod, and Baked Cod is from the North Atlantic, which is considered a good alternative on the Seafood Watch.
9. Farm/estate branded items
People are starting to look for specific information about where their food is coming from – including what farm and where it’s located. Throughout the next year, we plan to focus on educating our guests about where our products come from, starting with coffee!
Until next time,