menu trends

Restaurant menu trends to watch for in July

By Aaron Jourden

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

Tea complexity

About the trend: The popularity of artisan and fusion teas in recent years has encouraged operators to get even more creative with their specialty drinks. Now showing up on menus for the summer are more tea drinks with complex flavour profiles, intriguing ingredients and playful preparations.

  • Seasonal applications
  • Visual appeal
  • Adaptable for different dayparts and purchase occasions

Menu examples:

  • Milestones—Berry Blend Tea Lemonade with organic black iced tea, lemonade and housemade Southbrook berry tea syrup infused with cabernet franc and ice wine grape skins
  • Starbucks—Ombre Pink Drink, featuring Cool Lime Starbucks Refreshers beverage, coconut milk and Teavana Shaken Iced Passion Tango tea
  • La Prep—Homemade Fruit Infused Iced Tea prepared with fresh herbs in lemon-rosemary, strawberry-mint and mango-basil flavours

Put it in a bowl

About the trend: This build-your-own-friendly format has been growing on menus thanks to the rise of such trendy dishes as poke, customizable entree salads and healthy grain-based entrees. Now operators across all segments are adding bowl dishes to showcase healthy, fresh and seasonal ingredients along with craveable toppings and housemade sauces.

  • Encourage customization
  • Colourful presentations
  • Allow guests to combine ingredients for varied taste and texture experiences

Menu examples:

  • Earls Kitchen + Bar—Quinoa + Avocado Powerbowl with greens, avocado, quinoa, sunflower sprouts, roasted squash, beets, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, garlic rice crisps and green goddess dressing
  • Cactus Club Cafe—Modern Bowl with roasted cauliflower and broccoli, cucumber, tomato and rice and carrot ginger sauce, with optional add-ons of grilled chicken, glazed salmon and grilled avocado
  • Jugo Juice—Dragon Detox Smoothie Bowl with strawberries, unsweetened almond milk, ginger, watermelon, cranberry juice and dragon fruit, topped with banana, granola and chia seeds

Pile it on

About the trend: As food mashups and over-the-top food creations have become more mainstream in recent years, operators are now experimenting with even wilder dishes that pile on the ingredients and flavours. It draws attention, addresses demand for indulgent dining options and often provides great subject matter for social media.

  • LTO excitement
  • Indulgence factor
  • Premium price tiers

Menu examples:

  • Montana’s BBQ & Bar—Quesadilla Burger featuring a burger patty sandwiched between two pulled pork quesadillas and topped with fried jalapenos, fried tortillas and guacamole
  • Pizza Delight—Srira-Chos with nacho chips, Sriracha donair sauce, diced onions, tomatoes, bacon, ground beef, Tex-Mex cheese, hot pepper rings and chicken wings
  • The Works—Tragically Maple Burger with an eight-ounce Canadian beef patty, maple syrup, thick-cut maple bacon, housemade maple bacon jam, bacon sticks, Canadian cheese curds, arugula and maple garlic aioli

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