Top Menu Trends in 2023 Emerging from Restaurants Around the World by Martin Costanzo

Top Menu Trends in 2023 Emerging from Restaurants Around the World

A snapshot of Technomic’s Global Menu Innovation report reveals 10 food and drink trends impacting chain menus internationally.
By Patricia Cobe Feb 2023 (reposted)
Travel can be an inspirational way to generate menu ideas, but it’s not always possible for chefs and operators to globetrot on tasting trips.
Technomic’s quarterly Global Menu Innovation report tracks new and noteworthy menu items from 25 countries around the world—making it possible to get a taste of the trends without hopping on a plane. The most recent roundup features creative spins on tacos, sandwiches, pizza, plant-based dishes, and more on chain menus. We zeroed in on 10 items that tap into the top trends.

Domino’s, Germany
Portable handhelds are a growing trend worldwide for to-go and delivery-friendly food. Domino’s in Germany developed a more compact version of the Italian calzone, calling the minis “calzini.” Filling choices include salami, ham with peppers and spinach, and mushrooms—pizza topping ingredients that can be cross-utilized.

Calzini are downsized calzoni./Photo courtesy of Domino's

Schnitz, Australia
Who says tacos have to be filled with Tex-Mex ingredients? The Australian chain Schnitz fills tortillas with a range of international flavours. For this LTO, the breaded cutlets known as schnitzel come in beef, chicken, and veggie proteins and sport Japanese, Hawaiian, Moroccan, and other flavour profiles.

Royal Plant Barbecue
Outback Steakhouse, Brazil
Brazil is a nation of carnivores, but meat-centric Outback Steakhouse is menuing a special made with a plant-based meat alternative. Royal Plant Barbecue is prepared with a mix of vegan proteins accented by smoked flavour, then breaded and formed into portions. The dish is finished with a barbeque sauce and served with a side of fries.

Tandoori Pizza
Sbarro, India
Sbarro appeals to local tastes by adapting pizza to a signature in Indian cuisine: foods cooked in traditional tandoor ovens. The pizza is topped with paneer or grilled chicken, onion, and green and red peppers, infused with classic tandoori flavour. It demonstrates how pizza can be a blank canvas for any number of global spins.

Wendy's in the Philippines serves up rice bowls for breakfast./Photo courtesy of Wendy's Instagram

Morning Bowls
Wendy’s, Philippines
Wendy’s has made a big push for breakfast in the U.S., with American favourites like French toast sticks and egg sandwiches. But in the Philippines, rice is an important staple, and these rice bowls topped with hearty ingredients are more in sync with that cuisine. Choices include a Honey BBQ Tapa Rice Bowl with meat and a fried egg and a Bacon Mushroom Melt Rice Bowl with cheese and an egg.

Crackin’ Thin Crust
Pizza Hut, Malaysia
Crust innovation is a point of differentiation for pizza chains in the U.S., but this ultra-thin, crackly crust isn’t on our radar yet. Pizza Hut in Malaysia uses what it calls “4KRAKKK technology” to create the crispy, half-a-centimetre-thick crust, which bakes up with a crunchy cheddar edge.

Egg Shakshuka Bun
Eeten Urban Kitchen, UAE
Eeten Urban Kitchen, a concept in the United Arab Republic, turned shakshuka into a portable breakfast sandwich that fits any daypart. Mediterranean-inspired shakshuka, with its saucy base of peppers, onions, tomatoes and spices topped with poached eggs, is usually served plated with a fork and spoon. But here the saucy mixture is piled on a brioche bun, and then topped with over-easy eggs and grilled halloumi cheese.

Shakshuka on a bun, as served in the United Arab Republic./Photo courtesy of Eeten Urban Kitchen.

Walnut Drinks
Juan Valdez Café, Chile
Hazelnut and almond are more typical flavours for coffee drinks, but at Chile’s Juan Valdez Cafes, a trio of walnut beverages ran as a limited-time offer. Billed as “creamy walnut temptations,” the chain offers a walnut-infused hot and cold latte and a blended coffee drink—all topped with chopped walnuts.

Bad-Ass Breakfast Waffles
Lexi’s Healthy Eatery, South Africa
In this health-centric concept in South Africa, tofu replaces eggs to create a vegetarian all-day savoury waffle. The plant-forward item starts with high-protein waffles that are topped with scrambled tofu, smashed avocado, hollandaise, sumac and sesame seeds. A crave-able balance of healthy and indulgent.

Lexi in South Africa balances health with indulgence in this savoury waffle./Photo courtesy of Lexi Healthy Eatery.

A Little Bit Bitter
Dunkin’, Thailand
American doughnut fans gravitate toward sweet rather than bitter, but Dunkin’ in Thailand promoted the bitterness of chocolate as a selling point for an LTO. Four varieties are on offer: Black Bitter, Choco Zebra, Soft Rocky Cookie and Black Sprinkle, all flavoured with deep, dark chocolate. The menu description touts the bitter chocolate as a foil to the sweet donuts.

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