Good things come in small foodservice establishments, consumers seem to be saying. Despite a 4% falloff in total independent restaurant unit counts in 2017 compared to the previous year,1 it looks like consumer demand for micro restaurants is having a sizable impact. According to the global industry analysis and advisory firm NPD Group, micro-chains are breaking the lock larger chains once had on growth.
Peanut butter is one of those perennial favorites that brings back fond childhood memories yet stays forever fresh and contemporary, lending itself to an endless array of flavorful pairings. With so many applications, from cookies to confections, donuts to delicacies, chicken to burgers and beyond, it’s no wonder consumers keep going nuts for peanut butter and find new ways to enjoy it.
As competition heats up, labor costs rise and demand for quick, convenient snack and meal options grows, operators across segments are turning to technology for solutions. The faster and more efficiently they can serve customers, the more robust the bottom line is likely to be. High tech, higher check average, lower costs seems a suitable mantra for foodservice operators in the digital age.
It wasn’t that long ago when the word “super” applied to especially big servings of fast food. The idea seemed to be to power sales with mammoth portions, until an increasingly wellness-conscious consumer base sent demand for better-for-you options soaring and the industry took the high ground, trimming caloric content and boosting nutritional value to beef up sales.
In the age of grab-and-go, when millennials demand foodservice operators cater to the need for speed in their busy lifestyles, self-service kiosks seem to be just what the foodservice customer ordered. Grab-and-go was bound to give way to tap-and-go, an even-more-streamlined ordering process for the $230 billion fast-food industry, where young customers are putting ever-greater emphasis on “fast.”1
Soggy sales are putting a damper on the cereal market, sinking business for some major brands. The popularity of this once-perennial staple has been declining for years as consumer preferences have shifted to better-for-you and grab-and-go breakfast options.
Two ex-Googlers are going big with a new concept that could challenge the small mom-and-pop shops from which it takes its name. Bodega has arrived, and it could help drive the digitized gentrification and automation of foodservice.
Donuts are on the rise. Though a longtime traditional staple of the breakfast daypart, they’re sweetening sales numbers at later hours too with endless varieties and flavor combinations. Innovative donut shops and donut-driven foodservice operations are baking big business across the country, and U.S. retail sales are soaring.1
Food trucks make big bucks. Once stalled in negative perceptions and considered a dubious source of quick eats, these mobile foodservice operations are serving up sales at a rapid pace. The food truck industry has become turbocharged, with a growth rate projected to accelerate fourfold, from $615 million in 2012 to $2.7 billion in 2017.1
Given the huge millennial snack market for bold flavor adventures, it can be easy to emphasize novelty over traditional snacking favorites. And yet nostalgia feeds an emotional need to re-experience food products from a time consumers long to relive. Harkening back to the good old days can make consumers yearn for the snacks and comfort foods of yesteryear. For savvy foodservice operators, memory lane can be the road that leads to big snack sales.