Top 3 Restaurant Trends in 2021

The pandemic has greatly impacted the Restaurant Industry, and as lockdown restrictions begin to let up many are anticipating a fresh start for this struggling category. Hoping to regain lost momentum and profit, restaurant owners and chefs alike are looking to reignite their passion for creativity and quality while consumers are always hungry for innovation. Join us at Advanced Biotech as we take a look at the top 3 trends believe will be popping up in newly reopened restaurants across the nation.


Sweet and Spicy

                While the flavor profile of sweet and spicy isn’t necessarily a new concept, many restaurants and chefs are taking this crowd-pleasing combo to the next level. Ghost pepper doughnuts are a clever take on a dessert classic, while old favorites like Nashville hot chicken, characterized by balance of cayenne and brown sugar, are becoming more mainstream. Once niche and regional, hot honey is honey that is infused with various chilies and tops everything from smoky pepperoni pizza to vanilla ice cream and even cocktails. Korean flavor elements like bulgogi – thinly sliced beef marinated in a sweet and tangy combination of soy, fruit, and ginger, is finding its way onto menus across the US. Korean BBQ, featuring traditionally spicy and sweet elements like chili paste and brown sugar, is also surging in popularity.



                As vegan and vegetarian diets have remained popular throughout the past few years, restaurants are slowly but surely adding more plant-based options to their menus. Cashews are replacing cheese in the ever-popular spinach and artichoke dip while fan favorites like mac and cheese and queso are also getting a similar makeover. Less processed, more wholesome substitutes for traditional proteins like chicken and beef are also getting a makeover to eliminate processed ingredients and replace them with more “clean” label alternatives that chefs and customers alike can feel good about. Jackfruit is becoming a popular alternative to the meat found in everything from pulled pork barbecue sandwiches to tacos, quesadillas, and even lasagna. We can expect to see more veganized options on menus as this health and wellness lifestyle trend continues.



                “Always fresh, never frozen” may become a thing of the past as the pandemic has taught many, including restaurant owners, the true value of frozen foods. In March 2020, restaurants and other food service establishments took major losses as they were forced to toss out thousands of dollars’ worth of fresh food. While ghost kitchens, a professional food preparation and cooking facility set up for the preparation of delivery-only meals that soared in popularity over the course of the pandemic, found great stability in frozen foods, larger-scale companies are now taking note. Frozen foods offer insurance or restaurant owners while still remaining delicious and packed with nutrition.


Elevated flavor profiles, plant-based options, and even forays into frozen ingredients will be defining trends for restaurants this year. Chefs and customers alike are looking forward to new innovations and more options for patrons with varying dietary needs.