Skip to Content

Pubs and sports bars: stay ahead of the game with these innovative menu trends

Over the last year and a half, foodservice businesses have been challenged to adapt and reinvent themselves—especially bars and pubs. According to Upserve’s 2020 State of the Restaurant Industry report, bars were among the most affected segments from March 2020 to the present day.

Updating your menu is one of many ways to adapt during these ever-changing times. Discover how the industry is adapting to respond to consumer shifts and preferences with innovating flavours and trending meals.

Get inspired by these popular tastes and trends

  • “Loaded” dishes—characterized by lots of toppings or garnishes—are trending right now. You can easily enhance an existing menu item by piling it high with toppings, especially cheese (like Cheddar), which is the most popular garnish for this type of dish1.

    Fries, poutine, burgers, sandwiches/wraps, nachos, cheesy bread, and potato skins are the most popular picks for loaded dishes2. This pub-style Loaded sweet potato skins inspiration is a must-have for game night and beyond.

  • Edam cheese is en vogue: this kitchen staple experienced a 40% popularity spike in a single year2! It can be your special ingredient to elevate pizzas, mac n’ cheeses, fondue-inspired meals and many more dishes. Discover innovative ways to use this classic cheese on your menu by reading this article.

  • Take your fries to the next level by making them cheesy —you can even offer them as an upgrade for an extra fee. The most popular cheeses for this type of dish are Cheddar, Parmesan, Pizza Mozzarella, Feta, and Swiss3.

  • Poutine as an appetizer is one of the dishes that gained the most in popularity over the last year4! Since one-third of consumers appreciate being able to customize their orders5, offer them the opportunity to build their own poutine. Start with Cheddar cheese curds and let them add their favourite toppings and additional cheeses.

Make sure you have something for everyone

Many consumers are embracing a flexitarian lifestyle, especially women6. Younger diners, particularly Gen Z, are very much into healthier options. 79% of them are choosing to go meatless at least once or twice a week7.

There are plenty of ways to adapt your menu to their preferences:

  • Transform your burgers, sandwiches or wraps into salads or bowls. This easy-to-make burrito bowl inspiration is a definite crowd pleaser.

  • Replace the chips in your nacho plate with sweet potato chip pieces—like in this spicy inspiration.

  • This salmon tartare inspiration is a wonderful option that seems light enough to capture the attention of these consumers.

  • Use cheese as the star ingredient in your vegetarian dishes and get inspired by its versatility to create pizzas, poutines, burgers, pastas and so many other eye-catching recipes.

Vegan options are also continuing to rise in popularity8: This global movement is a fantastic opportunity for pubs and sports bars.  With our Dairy-Free Mozzarella Flavoured Shred, it has never been easier to add indulgent crave-worthy vegan meals to your menu, such as this burger and these nachos

Introduce innovative dishes while saving room for the classics

Mashups provide an opportunity to combine the best of two totally different culinary worlds. Since people are always looking for something new and exciting to try while still being able to rely on the comfort of familiar dishes9, this foodservice trend has the potential to add unique value to any menu9.

Mashups can be achieved by blending different dayparts (pulling inspiration from breakfast and dinner), mixing two types of dishes (cocktails with a cheese garnish), or pairing different cuisines (like Canadian and Italian fusion). This bruschetta and fried Bocconcini poutine inspiration is a great way to surprise customers with a classic recipe that features a fun twist.

It isn't necessary to change your entire menu to broaden your clientele. The key is to balance things out by serving tried-and-true favourites with a special touch only your establishment can provide! 


For more expert tips and insights just like this, subscribe to our newsletter, À LA CARTE!

1-2 Technomic, Ignite menu data, Q3 2020
3 Technomic, Ignite menu data, Q4 2019 – Q4 2020
4 Technomic, Ignite menu data, Q4 2020
5 Technomic, Canadian May Omnibus consumer survey, 2020
6 Datassential, Plant-forward opportunity report, 2020
7 Technomic, Ignite menu data, Q4 2019 – Q4 2020
8 Custom Culinary, Customization 2021, 2021
9 Technomic, Canadian Consumer Omnibus survey, January 2021

Did you enjoy these tips? You'll find even more in our newsletter,


Loaded Vegan Nachos

Chorizo corn dog with pizza mozzarella smoke flavoured

Haloumi Cheese Home Fries


Elevate the consumer experience with our cheese and beer pairing chart

Move over, wine and cheese: there’s a new dynamic duo in town. No matter which cheese varieties you have on your menu, there’s a beer out there for each one! Check out our beer and cheese pairing guide.

The ultimate guide to adding veggie cheeseburgers to your menu

Vegetarian dishes are trending, and so is decadent comfort food. The good news is these two categories overlap in so many ways – like in cheeseburgers! Read on how to incorporate this meatless option in your menu with Chef Brown’s tips.

Crafting a signature cocktail menu is easier than you think

Signature cocktails can showcase the most creative, crafty side of your business. Discover Chef Brown’s tips for an impressive cocktail menu.