Diners are increasingly seeking new flavors, and more than half say they like to try different foods. Familiar to some and new to others, the tastes and ingredients of specific regions across America can satisfy both adventurous and nostalgic cravings. Plus, more and more chain restaurants are including regional dishes on their menus. Get a head start by planning your next set of specials around the cuisines guests are seeking.
- Visit the City of Brotherly Love (and really good food). The food of Philadelphia is a reflection of its diverse population, ranging from hearty Italian-inspired dishes to cool and refreshing water ice. Nearly 50% of consumers say they’d be likely to order a Philly-themed burger—meet demand for regional flavor with a healthy twist by serving a turkey burger topped with grilled green peppers and onions and melted provolone cheese. Also try a fresh take on the traditional Philly sandwich with this Philly Roasted Turkey Sandwich.
- Add some Southern charm. Comforting and hearty, Southern foods are favorites in all sorts of directions. One of the most quintessential Southern dishes, chicken and waffles, is resurging—the dish has grown by more than 10% at midscale restaurants from 2013 to 2018. Satisfy patrons’ hankering for crispy, sweet-and-savory goodness with this Country Fried Turkey Waffler.
- Go Cubano. The cuisine of southern Florida has a strong Cuban influence—beans, rice, plantains, and seasoned fish and pork are the stars. The Cuban sandwich is quickly picking up traction in other areas, as 34% of consumers would think about ordering this type of sandwich at a restaurant. Try adding a better-for-you twist with The Turkey Cuban, which substitutes turkey for higher-calorie ham.
- Serve a Tex-Mex masterpiece. Tex-Mex fare includes extra shredded cheese, beans, peppers and spices, and it’s no surprise that half of consumers say they find it appealing. Bring the most popular regional cuisine type in the U.S. to your menu with The Sunnyvale Benedict or Turkey Chorizo Street Tacos, both featuring zesty and spicy flavors. And don’t forget the burger menu—31% of consumers are interested in ordering a Southwest-themed patty.
- Feel the California love. West Coast foods are usually associated with being lighter or healthier, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be indulgent, too. For health-conscious diners, try a Cali-inspired grilled turkey burger on a wheat bun, topped with avocado, sprouts, cucumber, tomato and roasted garlic mayo. For those seeking something more decadent, this Turkey Patty Melt might do the trick—this ooey-gooey diner classic is said to have originated in California in the early 1950s.
Regional American cuisines can be the key to attracting a wide range of diners, whether they inspire chefs to experiment through LTOs or make them permanent offerings on the menu. With rich flavors from all over the country, there’s something for every guest.
Generational Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2018.
Burger Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2017.
MenuMonitor, Technomic, Q4 2013 to Q4 2018.
Sandwich Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2018.
Flavor Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2017.