Serving the familiar foods from a customers’ childhood leads to reminiscing over meals: That’s the idea behind nostalgia cooking. There are ways to achieve this while also innovating the dining experience while remaining delightfully rooted in the past.
There has been a reemergence of classic comfort foods like meatloaf, deviled eggs and macaroni and cheese on menus as a result of this trend. In fact, several macaroni-and-cheese-only restaurants have been established in recent years with locations in cities like Philadelphia and Houston. Menus for the nostalgia food trend will vary by region as well as by generation. Baby Boomers ate corn flakes for breakfast as kids; Gen X will recall “space age” offerings like Pop-rocks, as well as trendy foods from the 70's like fondue; millennials were eating cheddar goldfish and fruit rollups. All of these and more can be incorporated into current menus.
Ideas for Operators:
- Look in your own backyard for inspiration. Consider which long-time, regional favorites you might be able to creatively transform for your customers. For example, pecan pie brownies will give customers a delicious taste of nostalgic, southern cuisine.
- A build-your-own macaroni and cheese bar is one way to appeal to everyone, all generations seemingly love “mac n’ cheese.” Potential toppings can range from chicken to broccoli and bacon to jalapeños. Take an upscale approach with additions like lobster or shrimp.
- Host a “nostalgia night” at your operations, serving a prix fixe menu of traditional, nostalgic favorites.
- Use a survey! Find out which foods your customers most enjoyed in their youth, especially in senior settings; then, craft those dishes and serve on a special, themed evening. For example, Cream of Wheat was a popular breakfast dish in the 1950s. Set up a Cream of Wheat station where seniors can add their own toppings like raisins and coconut.
Learn more foodservice trends! Download entegra’s paper, Foodservice Trends for Seniors.
Entegra Procurement Services regularly publishes blog posts on food trends and innovations in food services. Entegra is more than a group purchasing organization (GPO): Our team of procurement specialists implement strategic sourcing to bring the most value to your business. We help our clients, in many segments ranging from the healthcare supply chain to restaurant supply, to cut costs and consolidate their portfolios.