After much upheaval during the pandemic, foodservice operators this past year have taken comfort in a constant: Their customers still see food as not just essential sustenance, but an important way to connect. The connection draws us into so many realms, from other cultures to sustainable ways of eating to the fun and excitement of trying the latest food trend.
With people gathering again, food halls, football stadiums, dining halls and cafeterias took up their rightful mantle as a community hub. An occasion as everyday as lunch can be a space to meet with colleagues and classmates over barbecue brisket bowls or crispy chicken sandwiches. A game day spent with friends takes on new importance, with over-the-top menu items to set the tone: Fun with food. Meatball cones, anyone?
And menus have taken bold new turns toward plant-forward, wellness-focused, planet-saving ideas. One thing is certain: We can’t wait to see what the new year will bring.