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According to Yelp data, viral food trends are increasingly appearing on restaurant menus

According to data from Yelp, food and drink trends that go viral on social feeds are increasingly finding their way onto restaurant menus.

That's just one of the findings from Yelp's annual industry report, released Wednesday, which compiles data from hundreds of millions of reviews, photos, and consumer and business activity.

The “croissant craze” is one of those viral trends fueled by social media. Croissants continue to be reinvented in countless new ways, evolving from the Croffle in 2022 (a croissant-waffle hybrid) to the Supreme in 2023 (a round, crispy, cream-filled pastry). In 2024, the Crookie took the lead, with searches for this biscuit-croissant combination increasing 23,300% in March of this year.

First spotted in Paris, the Crookie is a mashup of croissant dough filled with a chocolate chip cookie. According to Yelp, more croissant variations are now popping up, including the Flat Croissant (up 5,411% year-over-year) and the Pizza Croissant (up 372%).

While croissant variations seem to be coming from independent chefs and bakeries and are going viral on social platforms, national chain Paris Baguette has jumped on the trend with its own variations. Last year, the 1,000-store bakery-café concept launched Croissant Cubes, and this March saw the debut of the Croissant Crisp, a flattened and pressed variant baked into a caramelized, crispy pastry.

Fresh out of the oven is the brand's take on the round Supreme, which was unveiled on Wednesday and comes in two flavours. The Lemon Supreme Croissant is filled with soft lemon cream and covered in lemon icing, while the Chocolate Supreme Croissant is filled with chocolate custard cream and covered in chocolate.

The croissant hype reinforces another trend highlighted in the Yelp report: the rise of dessert concepts. From May 2023 to April 2024, the number of dessert shop openings increased by 52%, as did the number of concepts focused on similar treats.

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While the number of restaurant openings is increasing in general (up 6% year-on-year), growth has slowed compared to the 10% between 2022 and 2023. However, pop-ups are still going strong as chefs and restaurant owners look to test new ideas in temporary spaces that require minimal investment.

And as the decline in more expensive restaurants shows, consumers value value for money.

The rise in dessert concepts shows that Americans are clearly indulging in their love of sweets. And they're often looking for more original ways to satisfy those cravings. Online searches for tanghulu, a Chinese snack of skewered fruit with a sugar glaze, increased by 7,818%, while searches for Swedish sweets increased by a whopping 13,665%. According to Yelp data, videos of taste tests of Swedish sweets are trending on social media.

Viral trends can be fleeting, however, and Yelp continues to track the foods and drinks that are generating buzz on social media to see what might end up on restaurant menus in the second half of 2024.

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