Americans’ holy grail of fast food, better known as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken, along with hundreds of other fast-food chains, now have some competition from the new international chain restaurants that have opened franchises here in the US. The list includes:
- Pizza-LA, Japan
- Wienerwald, Germany, Turkey, Romania
- Chicken Licken, South Africa, Botswana
- Toast Box, Singapore
- Kaati Zone, India
- Teremok, Russia, and more
Is the influx of chain restaurants from other countries succeeding in America? Yes, according to Christine Blank, writing for QSR Magazine. She says Americans’ taste for ethnic foods continues to grow and she points out a statement from Chicago-based foodservice consulting firm Technomic, by way of Executive Vice-President Darren Tristano:
What [international chain operators] see when they examine the U.S. market is a consumer who spends almost half of their food budget at restaurants and one who is eager to try new ethnic flavors. U.S. operators ignore these international imports at their peril.
Most international chains have some relatively healthy food choices, along with plenty of good old standards. But each restaurant has enough of its country’s influence to make eating there a gourmand-pleasing event.
Some chain restaurant owners may be asking how they are going to incorporate this trend into their eateries. The National Restaurant Association has the answer. The organization surveyed 700 professional chefs, members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF), to discover what they thought would be trending in the food-and-beverage industry in 2018. Their answers included:
- Ethnic-inspired kids’ dishes (e.g., tacos, teriyaki, sushi)
- Street-food inspired dishes (e.g., dumplings, tempura, kabobs, Salvadorian pupusas)
- Ethnic-inspired breakfast dishes (e.g., coconut milk pancakes, chorizo scrambled eggs)
- Uncommon herbs (e.g., English lovage, French chervil, Mexican papalo)
- Authentic ethnic cuisine
- Ethnic spices (e.g., Tunisian harissa, African Piri-Piri, Moroccan ras el hanout, Japanese shichimi)
- Peruvian cuisine
- Thai-rolled ice cream
- African flavors
- Donuts with non-traditional fillings (e.g., Earl Grey ice cream, various liquors)
- Ethnic condiments (e.g., Southeast Asian sriracha, Southeast Asian sambal, Argentine/Uruguayan chimichurri, Korean/Asian gochujang, Yemenite/Jewish zhug)
The idea is to get creative and hop on this train by adding some international cuisines to your menu. As ACF National President Stafford T. DeCambra reminds us:
Chefs strive to strike the right balance between offering consumers what they want to eat now and guiding them toward new and exciting culinary frontiers. ACF chefs dedicate countless hours to continuing education and professional development to stay at the forefront of culinary innovation, allowing them to respond to and redefine diners’ expectations in an ever-changing foodservice landscape.