As government restrictions on restaurant operations loosen, the industry seems to have shifted focus from eating as few losses as possible to feeding the bottom line. Opportunities and challenges abound in this transitional period of social distancing, hypervigilant hygiene, and dependence on delivery and takeout. The “new normal” of modified operations and changing consumer demands is here for the long haul, even as much of it continues to evolve.
Pumpkin spice sure is nice, signaling the start of the holiday season and boosting business for foodservice operators across America, where the love affair with the perennial fall flavor seems to pile up sales like so much foliage.
America is the land of the free and the home of the snackers, where snacking has undergone such explosive growth that nearly half the country consumes two to three snacks daily.1 According to research from NPD Group, millennials and baby boomers snacked a combined total of 173.5 billion times in 2015 alone.1
With such a spectacular, ooh-and-ahh-worthy display of consumption, it makes sense for foodservice operators to explore the consumer segments that have made snacking so prevalent it has started to replace traditional meals, as shown by the steady rise of on-the-go breakfast bars.1 SmartBrief reports that snack bar sales skyrocketed nearly 50% between 2014 and 2016, helping to give rise to the trend of high-protein meat- or seed-based snack sticks—part of the larger trend of portable foods with better-for-you appeal.2
There’s a lot of buzz these days about snack trends. A smorgasbord of juicy buzzwords, including grab-and-go, wellness, mash-up, hybrid, clean label, international inspiration and numerous others, feeds the need for foodservice operators to keep pace with consumer demand for menu innovation.
Known for their ravenous hunger for bold new flavor experiences, millennials serve up a feast of opportunities for foodservice operators. But it helps to tantalize their taste buds if you want to savor sweet success.