The story of the future of the foodservice industry starts with a man, a man who trained to become a chef, a chef who wanted to do things differently. Or maybe it was that all he could afford to do was something different. But in his first restaurant, different is what he did: different service format, different ingredients, different sourcing partners, different idea of what was possible outside of the fine-dining arena.
Sustainable practices are all the rage across the restaurant industry these days.
The expansive show floors at the National Restaurant Association’s annual trade show in May confirmed that the momentum behind these initiatives isn’t waning. From tableware and takeout containers to faucets, lighting, and cleaning products, green was the word. That also extends to the proteins most quick-service and fast-casual restaurants use as their menuboard centerpieces.
No longer is local sourcing just a utopian ideal. It’s a practice coming to life and continually gaining momentum in foodservice, with the number of local ingredients on menus growing by 73 percent over the last four years, according to market research firm Mintel.
But, at its most basic level, it’s a tale of two industries.