menuwatching Report - Casual & Fine Casual 2024

Our Casual & Fine Casual 2024 menuwatching report is now live on the hub for subscribers. The category has been brimming with innovation and exciting new trends in format, flavour, cuisine twists, mashups, revamped classics and more.

As the global financial crisis continues, Casual and Fine Casual restaurants are still struggling with finances, growth is slow, but many are predicting that 2024 will be a turning point, as more people return to the office and more people are travelling. Although others, such as Restaurant Online, predict consumers are turning away from Casual and Fine Casual to support their local pub or to visit cheaper QSR.

To give you a feel for what's within the full 110-page report, we've summarised three key takeouts. In no particular order:

Humble Gourmet – Saving money is key at present, but mealtimes shouldn't suffer! So kitchens and bars are applying craft and care to humble ingredients, to create gourmet dishes. Indeed, the likes of potatoes, sweetcorn, cauliflower, beetroot, lettuce and eggs are elevated to new heights with techniques that draw out depth of flavour – e.g. smoking, charring and preserving. Cue, towering devilled eggs, chargrilled baby gem salad, corn fritters and potato rosti as the main event.

Delicious Waste – Sustainability remains a key concern, and cooks are getting ever more creative about how they both prevent and repurpose waste. For instance, waste ingredients are infused and emulsified to bring new flavours and textures – e.g. herb stalks, veg trimmings and even stale bread are infused into liquids such as alcohol, milk, cream, or syrup. Meanwhile drying is employed more innovatively as a technique to extend shelf life; anything from shrimp to mushrooms to citrus are dried, before being used in unexpected guises. Meanwhile pickles and ferments continue to shine; and the most waste-conscious cooks don't even chuck the brine! Pickle brine martini, anyone?

Familiar Comforts – Comfort rules, indeed. Retro American favourites like mac n' cheese, club sandwiches and fried chicken continue to shine; but are now elevated with gourmet and global twists (e.g. lobster mac n' cheese with harissa). Sandwiches are elevated too, with over-the-top fillings… perhaps even some added potato crisps inside, because why not! And of course, there's deep fried everything… think croquettes, arancini and other deep fried deliciousness. And don't forget about dessert where nostalgic and familiar favourites shine; e.g. candy floss, apple pie and banoffee.


trendhub subscribers can access the full 110-page Casual & Fine Casual 2024 menuwatching report here. If you're not yet subscribed but are interested to find out more then complete the form below and a member of the team will back to you with more information.