Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Rise of Small Plates:

Kim Severson piece in the NY Times “Is the Entrée headed for Extinction?”, is very entertaining and I recommend you read the entire article.

“Influences from the global pantry have also had their effect. More exposure to meze, dim sum, sushi and tapas has changed how Americans think of the structure of a meal. As a result, chefs feel free to break out of the traditional French model of restaurant dining by offering small, intense tastes of global flavors, said Eve Felder, an associate dean at the Culinary Institute of America.

“It’s more of a reaching back into the way in which people celebrate the table,” she said.”

The American dining experience is changing, there is a lot more adventure at the dining table. Spicy foods, different ethnic flavorings and more of a global awareness to different cultures has injected variety into the menu. General ethnic concepts such as Italian, Vietnamese or Chinese are focusing on more specific regional areas further differentiating their offerings from their competitors as well as continuing to educate a customer base searching for the next delicious trend.

The reordering of the menu from the hierarchical entrée has implications on the revenue streams and theoretical costs to produce the menu. Those inflows and outflows need to be examined with a fresh perspective.

The “go large” mantra appears to be getting moderated by the $1 value menu items, the de-emphasis of the big protein entrée, and the Rise of the Small Plates