menu trends

Restaurant menu trends to watch in January 2018

By Aaron Jourden

Below we will highlight some of the leading menu trends to watch on Canadian menus this January.


About the trend: Operators are showcasing duck in everyday dishes that make the protein more approachable by showcasing it in familiar and craveable preparations.

  • Exotic appeal
  • Not always easy to prepare at home
  • Rich and flavourful protein option

Menu Examples:

  • Shoeless Joe’s Sports Grill—new slow-cooked Ontario duck wings with gochujang, sesame seeds and green onion
  • Chez Ashton—limited-edition mini poutine with duck confit
  • Pacini—new smoked duck salad with pistachios, raspberries, honey and raspberry vinaigrette

Nachos, reinterpreted

About the trend: Operators are taking the classic nachos build and re-contextualizing it in new and creative ways, such as as a breakfast dish or as an Italian preparation, to meet demands for comforts foods, bold flavours and new dining experiences.

  • Ethnic variations
  • Applications across restaurant segments, menu categories and dayparts
  • Balances familiarity with newness

Menu Examples:

  • IHOP—new chorizo breakfast nachos with citrus-chili sauce, bacon, bell pepper, onion, tomato, white cheddar cheese sauce and a sunny-side up egg
  • Toujours Mikes—new appetizer of nachos with salsa, bruschetta, bell peppers, green and black olives, served au gratin with a three-cheese blend
  • Montana’s BBQ & Bar—recently offered Doritos chips as a base for its classic nachos dishes

menu trends

Bold chicken sandwiches

About the trend: Operators continue to build out the chicken sandwich category with new offerings featuring gourmet, bold and ethnic ingredients to address demand for craveable and indulgent chicken offerings.

  • Beef burger alternative
  • Adaptable to many topping combinations, seasonings, preparations styles and breadings
  • Showcases emerging on-trend ingredients and flavours

Menu Examples:

  • Boston Pizza—new Kick’n Memphis Chicken Sandwich with buttermilk-breaded chicken breast tossed in Memphis-style hot sauce, topped with fried jalapeno, cheddar, bacon, ranch, lettuce, tomato and pickle on a brioche bun
  • McDonald’s—new Maple & Cheddar Seriously Chicken sandwich with seasoned grilled or crispy chicken breast, crispy onion, lettuce, tomato, cheddar cheese and maple mustard sauce on a brioche bun
  • Vera’s Burger Shack—new Buffalo Chicken Burger with breaded chicken flavoured with Frank’s RedHot Sauce, topped with a blue cheese dressing, lettuce and tomato on a seeded bun

About the author:

Aaron Jourden is the managing editor – global & distribution at Chicago-based Technomic Inc., a Winsight company. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry. For more information visit

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