Menu Trends: Flatbreads
Last month I attend the Technomic Trends & Directions Conference at the Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago, IL, and I was really interested in the sessions about some new menu trends they see on the horizon – and one of them was flatbreads.
This seemed odd to me since flatbreads have been around for eons. Or least it feels that way. Ever since the “small bites” revolution, flatbreads seem to be on every fine dining menu from here to Timbuktu.
Key word in that last sentence being “fine dining.” A menu trend that used to be limited to restaurants that only used ingredients with fancy names and fancy tastes, is now a trend that has trickled into the casual dining segment.
Chili’s launched their flatbread concept this year and now features it as a special $7 lunch break combo and as an appetizer on their $20 for 2 dinner. Their ingredients – things like cheese, chicken, avocado and cilantro – are much more accessible to everyday diners (especially diners with picky kids!) and a great easy addition to their menu.
Pizza Hut is another restaurant that has recently jumped on the flatbread trend with “fire baked style” flatbread pizzas that can be topped three different ways with up to three toppings each (again much more recognizable toppings like pepperoni and mushroom). So it’s obvious this trend is making its way into the pizza delivery segment as well.
The great thing about the flatbread menu trend is that it is easy to offer as an appetizer at your restaurant and it’s easy to use everyday ingredients or experiment with some more unique flavor combinations – this is a great way to test some ideas and get some customer feedback as well. It’s great that flatbreads aren’t just “fancy” anymore and that they’ve hit the mainstream menu trends – this is an easy item to add to any menu. I suggest boarding this train with the rest of the casual dining chains!