From mobile caterers to coffee shops, the summer months bring with them new trends and customer demand for ice-cold treats. As we approach Spring, sales of consumer summer favourites are already on the rise. Whether you’re a restaurant with a whole menu to manage or a mobile caterer serving up a few drinks, you’ll need to adapt your offering to keep the customers coming this summer.
Get inspired and upgrade your menu
Every year the old summer favourites shake off the winter frost and make their grand reappearance. Ice cream, frozen cocktails and ice-cold beer take the lead while summer salads and fresh seasonal fruit are also popular choices. Every year these timeless classics all get a modern twist making them ever more popular. Last year sales of ice cream and summer alcohol increased yet again on the previous year, in part thanks to inventive new ice cream flavours and cocktail mixes.
This year looks set to be no different with sales of all these summer items expected to rise again. If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration and want a menu that serves up the latest craze, here’s a few of the hottest food trends this year.
Charcoal everything, but especially ice cream
Just like squid ink in previous years, charcoal is gracing our plates with eye-catching colour that makes for Instagram worthy pictures. While charcoal is being experimented with in various foods and recipes, charcoal ice cream is by far the show stopper. You’ve probably seen a few pictures of these dark treats already, but expect to see a lot more as the weather starts to warm up again.
Ice cold frozen cocktails were a big hit last year with classic daiquiris getting a modern twist. Frozen cocktails became so popular in fact that many supermarkets now stock pre-made mixes that can be frozen and served at home. This year we expect these ice-cold drinks to be more popular than ever, especially with alcoholic slushy drinks also on the rise. The drink that makes adults feel like a kid again will get a revamp with even more flavours and eye-catching colours.
Craft beers and local wines
In our overview of all the culinary trends we expect to see in 2018, we mentioned craft beers and locally sourced wines. With consumers expected to flock to the pub and beer garden again this summer, there’s no doubt that these drinks will only rise in popularity. Microbreweries serving up special craft beers and IPA’s plus good old English sparkling wine will no doubt be the longest summer trend with sales already picking up.
Get prepared and upgrade your kitchen
With sales of all these items soaring in summer months, it’s a no-brainer that your menu needs a summer facelift and your kitchen equipment needs to be up to the task. After getting inspired by funky ice cream flavours and colourful cocktails, it’s time to invest in the right equipment or upgrade your current kitchen to keep up with the summer rush.
A staple for any business serving food or drink this summer, ice makers can be used front and back of house to save both time and money. Whether it’s ice in cocktails or ice to display seafood and other cold food displays, there’s no doubt that a reliable source of ice is essential during the hot summer months.
You can find a range of different ice machines depending on your business size and ice requirement, from compact under counter units that fit perfectly under the bar for front of house service to large self-service units. Whether you want cube ice or clear crescent-shaped ice, make sure you choose an ice machine that will keep up with your everyday demands during busy peak summer months while delivering the quality of ice you need for your menu.
The rise in popularity of ice cream, in general, saw an increase in dedicated ice cream parlours last year and many other businesses are also keen to profit from the nations love of this sweet treat. Whether you have a dedicated ice cream menu or you’re simply looking to expand your current range, a blast freezer could be the perfect addition to your kitchen this summer.
Many modern blast freezers now have a special ice cream cycle making them perfect for blast freezing all your ice cream mixes and ensuring the best possible quality. The best thing about blast freezers, however, is their versatility. As well as a dedicated ice cream setting, these powerful machines can be used to blast chill or freeze a range of foods including pre-made meals, meat and even raw fish, so you can improve your menu and prepare a bigger range of high-quality food, all within strict hygiene regulations.
Juice dispensers and slush machines
When it comes to serving cold soft drinks and even milk, a drinks dispenser is a must-have summer item for a range of front of house applications. Especially ideal for self-service uses such as cafeterias or buffet service, drinks dispensers can help to keep soft drinks at a consistently cool temperature over long and busy food services.
Although a drink dispenser can hold a range of soft juices and milk, this summer we think a slush machine is the must-have catering equipment. Whether it’s the red and blue slushie we all know and love or new and adventurous alcoholic slushie drinks, a slush machine is a perfect way to expand your menu and stand out from the competition to attract both kids and adults as the weather warms up.
They may be called bar blenders, but they’re certainly not limited to bar use. From hotels and restaurants to catering vans and even coffee shops, a blender is one of the most versatile beverage equipment items around and was almost designed to cater to consumer summer demand. Smoothies and iced cocktails are typical staples of these versatile machines, but they’re just as good at making iced coffee and other frappe drinks as well. A blender is a perfect way to transform your hot winter drinks and recipes into colour summer ones, so let your imagination run wild and try creating new flavours.
Summer is all about bright colours so what better time to display all your brightest and boldest drinks and food. Refrigerated displays are perfect for introducing a new cold section to your buffet service or displaying all your summer deli recipes, and refrigerated fridges with glass doors make an eye-catching display out of all your colour drinks. If you’re jumping on the craft beer and sparkling wine bandwagon this summer, these display fridges are perfect for showing off your star drinks.