Every year 350 high school students from across the United States come together to put their culinary and management skills to the test, with the hope of winning a scholarship to one of the nation’s top hospitality universities.
The National ProStart Invitational by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is the finale in a series of state competitions hosted by the local state restaurant associations. The winning culinary and management teams from each state are sent to the Invitational, where they must impress judges from a variety of industry corporations, colleges, and universities, with the skills they have learned from the ProStart program.
This year Oracle Hospitality was honored to not only have a team member (Brett Smith, Senior Director, F&B Solutions Management) sit on the panel of judges at the competition, but also to sponsor a co-written report with the NRAEF. In our report, A Look Inside the National ProStart Invitational, we look at the key trends that were seen in the restaurant proposals that the students submitted for the competition. These trends cover all aspects of the restaurant business – from culinary trends to marketing tactics, and even technology.
One of the keys to succeeding in this industry is to stay on top of changing technology requirements and evolving customer needs. These ProStart students are the future of our industry. They are the restaurant owners and managers of tomorrow, so it is important to anticipate and understand what new trends and ideas they will bring with them.
Here is a look at some of the trends:
- Standout ingredients included forbidden black rice, quinoa and game meats
- More than half of menus included vegetarian or gluten free dietary options
- The majority of the proposed restaurant concepts were fast-casual
- Many concepts focused on farm-to-table cuisine incorporating locally sourced ingredients
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