Oct 12

Flavor Experience Reflections

Your mates at True Aussie are still buzzing a bit from last month’s Flavor Experience conference in Monterey, CA. Not just because of the #aussome food and drink(s)! One of the best industry events for seeing, hearing and tasting the latest in flavor trends impacting foodservice, this was the first in-person gathering for Flavor in what felt like forever. ICYMI, here are a few of our top takeways and impressions from the many presentations, roundtables and casual conversations.

Keep it Simple

We heard this refrain loud and clear from every operator. With so many hurdles to navigate from labor challenges to supply chain issues, everyone was looking to keep things easy and executable for their teams. This means no new SKUs that might be hard to get, no complicated builds or extra steps that need special training.

Guests are Back, and Looking for What’s New

And yet, with traffic counts at or near record highs for many concepts, operators are hearing from their customers that they’re ready for what’s next, and eager to move on from the limited menus and simplified service that’s become typical during the pandemic. Sales and revenue are there to be had, if you have the staff and can figure out how to solve the puzzle.

So What’s the Solve?

We’ve written about it before, but the consensus here is to aim at “fusebiquity” – taking a reliable, comfortable, popular item, and giving it a little “zhuzh” with a couple of innovative twists and trending flavors. That keeps you in-bounds of what your stretched-thin teams can do back-of-house, but still gives you something new and noteworthy to tout on social media and through your marketing channels.

Ok, but what’s that actually look and taste like?

No worries mate, we’ve got you! Here are a few notable ideas that pick up on trends we saw at the conference, and fit the fusebiquity concept. Natch, they all lean on Australian lamb to provide the instant upgrade and uniqueness factor!

Aussie Lamb Tinga Tostada

Tinga, the classic Mexican shredded chicken dish, was noted as a top growing (+52%!) flavor on entrees. We love Chef Jennifer O’Brien's brunchy take, using Australian lamb for a unique twist.

Aussie Lamb Sloppy Joeys

We needed Chef Adam to explain the American classic that is a “Sloppy Joe” – that messy-but-scrumptious “loose meat” sandwich. It was due for an update, and he provided one with these “Sloppy Joeys.” More on these here.

Australian Lamb Bologonese

Especially since it’s National Pasta Month, we have to include Conor Hanlon’s lamb Bolognese. Pasta is a great example of a hugely popular food that’s easy to execute, and is ripe for innovation and upgrades that command attention AND a premium from the guest.

 

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