The restaurant business is like oxygen. If you're alive, you'll use it.
to Technomic, Americans now dine outside the home an average of 4.2
times per week. That practically makes it America's kitchen.
someone who spends a lot of time with food service clients analyzing and
identifying trends, I thought I'd share the Top 10 with Post-Crescent
No No to GMO
Diners are more concerned than
ever with what's in their restaurant food. Look for many chains to get
out ahead of this issue (like Chipotle, Panera Bread, and even
McDonald's have done recently) amending recipes, menu items and trying
to gain more market share among the majority of diners who finally
understand that you truly are what you eat.
the new beef, beer is the new wine and Asian is ascendant. Creative
chef-takes on chicken and a preponderance of exceptional regional craft
beers and artisan cocktails are showing real traction. If Vietnamese,
Indian, Korean, Thai and provincial Chinese cuisine was any hotter, well
it would have to be rolled in a tortilla.
A recent restaurant leadership conference pegged "farm-to-table" as a
confusing and tired marketing trend that was fading from menu
descriptions. Yet the demand for locally produced, sustainably-grown,
additive-free, non-processed, nutritious food is still popular among
diners. It just needs a better name.
Mobile ordering and payment
The new menu is already in your pocket or purse. It's your phone.
Google Wallet, Apple Pay and Samsung are working hard to integrate
seamless payment through the smartphone (Starbucks has led the category
for years now) and mobile-friendly websites and menus are a must for
foodservice operators. Look for congestion pricing too: a meal on a slow
Monday night may soon cost less than one on a prime Saturday.
destined to become the most influential consumer group in the U.S.
Currently accounting for 22 to 24 percent of restaurant spending,
Millennials will represent 40 percent of restaurant revenues by 2020.
They have the collective spending power of $1.7 trillion. To this group —
bigger in size than baby boomers — food customization and quality is a
must, not a luxury. See next point.
segment — arguably pioneered by Subway — is showing tremendous growth
across the U.S. in a variety of menus. Build-your-own pizza is the
biggest trend with build-your-own Asian (ShopHouse Kitchen) and Italian
(Vapiano's) not far behind.
Fast casual segment is booming
Fast casual restaurants (think Chipotle) were up 12% in 2014 while
casual dining (think TGI Friday's) was down 7%. This nearly 20-point
swing is a result of Next Gen dining preferences. The ability to
customize your meal, not tip and get quick service at a price point
20-30% less than full-service restaurants is attractive to any
generation. Casual dining is fighting back with creative menus and
Kinetic appetizers and desserts
Think smaller bite-sized sampler portions with a variety of dipping
sauces that allows you to customize the flavor of each appetizer or
dessert bite with every dip.
all those mini-kiosks doing on casual dining theme restaurant tables?
Two things: First, they allow you to order, pay, tip, purchase apps and
rate your experience, and secondly, they're training you how to eat
without a live human interface. Goodbye servers, hello iPad Menu.
Stand-alone kiosks in quick-service restaurants are a thing too, helping
to solve the restaurant operator's No. 1 challenge: staffing, retention
Because of time
constraints, quality and convenience, the restaurant has entrenched
itself in American lifestyles. The food service industry is already back
to pre-2008 levels, restaurant IPOs are the new darlings of Wall Street
and expect the industry to continue to grow by 2-3% annually over the
next five years.