This past January, Restaurants Canada conducted their annual survey to find out what the hottest food trends in the restaurant industry are for 2017. They surveyed more than 560 chefs from all over the country asking about both current and up-and-coming food trends they’re seeing in the industry. Check out the results with their survey top 10 video. We’ve picked our 3 favorite trends and included some risk management and safety tips relating to these trends.

3 food trends for restaurant owners and their risks:

1. Craft beer

The craft beer movement has been on the rise for years in Canada, and in 2017, it’s been identified as the #1 food trend. The explosion of craft beer has been changing the landscape as new microbreweries, nanobreweries and brewpubs are opening up in cities all across the country. As restaurants look to change their menus to meet the changing expectations of consumer tastes, having a stellar lineup of bottled craft beer or a rotating selection of taps is a sure-fire way to get new customers in the door.

The wide variety of styles and sprit of experimentation is not only great for beer lovers, but food lovers too. Chefs are always looking for new dishes with flavours that can be complemented by the right type of beer. In fact, the popularity of Cicerone certification programs (like a sommelier for beer pairings) and their appearance in restaurants shows that both foodies and craft beer fans are eager to explore.

Risk management tip for craft beer

In addition to the wide variety of beer styles that can range from coffee-infused porters to hibiscus wheat beer, there can also be a wide range when it comes to alcohol content by volume. Some craft beers can have alcohol content by volume that is two or three times stronger than standard domestic lagers and ales, and depending on the style of beer, your customers might not taste the difference. Make sure your craft beer menu clearly labels the alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage so that your patrons are aware of how much alcohol they’re consuming. In most cases, higher ABV drinks should be served in smaller glasses (supplied by the brewery) to accommodate the difference in alcohol.

2. Sous-vide

The sous-vide cooking method has recently made the jump from high-end restaurants featuring gourmet chefs to restaurants and kitchens all over the world, partially thanks to exposure on popular television cooking shows. This method has become a trend because it heats food in way that allows the inside to be cooked without burning the outside, while also allowing the food to retain all of its natural juices and flavours. Sous-vide involves placing the food in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag and cooking it in hot water or steam over a prolonged period of time at a regulated temperature.

Fans of sous-vide will enjoy food that is more succulent, flavourful and evenly cooked, which is why this trend is moving beyond restaurants. Much like slow cookers and crockpots have become a staple of home kitchens, steamers and other home-cooking sous-vide solutions are catching on too. As an added feature of vacuum-sealed cooking, some items can be stored for longer than traditional methods of cooking and packaging.

Risk management tip for sous-vide

As with any new method or technology, it’s important that your cooking staff receives proper safety training. Because sous-vide involves cooking at much lower temperatures than traditional methods, there’s always a risk that undercooked food could make your patrons ill. Another risk is that certain types of bacteria that can cause botulism form more easily in the low-oxygen environment of a vacuum-sealed pouch. And make sure you’re using the right type of plastic cooking bags so that there isn’t a risk of leaching. Adequate safety training is a must when it comes to sous-vide dishes.


Gluten-free options for every food type are popular in restaurants, cafes and grocery stores. While the gluten-free movement began as a way to provide new options to customers who may suffer from an illness, gluten allergy or gluten sensitivity, it’s been embraced by a much wider group of consumers. Gluten-free diets and lifestyles have become popular even for those who don’t have any medical reason to avoid gluten-rich foods. This movement has resulted in many new recipes and dishes that prove gluten-free foods can be just as delicious and inventive as their gluten counterparts.

Risk management tip for gluten-free food

While the demand for gluten-free food continues to increase for a variety of reasons, it’s important to remember that “gluten-free” isn’t just a marketing slogan. Just like with any food allergy, your customers could potentially have severe reactions and become ill. Your menu should clearly note dishes that are gluten free and call out certain ingredients or add-ons that may not be certified gluten free. Make sure your staff is trained to know the details of your menu and is able to answer questions and accommodate requests for gluten and other food allergies.

Stay tuned for our blog for more information on how we can help restaurant owners.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply – see policy for details.