Authenticity, comfort and food trucks are steering menu innovation, as chefs work to drive guest traffic — and customer returns — in a stubborn economy, menu expert Nancy Kruse said during the recent Menu Trend & Directions conference. In the first half of the year, the top 250 restaurant chains have introduced 1,521 new entrée items and 1,726 new entrée limited-time offers, according to Nancy Kruse and her State of the Plate. When sides, appetizers, sandwiches ...

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