Nonalcohol beverages are generating a lot of buzz these days. Ingenious infusions and eclectic flavor profiles are raising the category’s profile as foodservice operators strive to satisfy the market’s thirst for bold, refreshing taste adventures.
As debates about vaccination rates and the impact of the Delta variant of COVID-19 continue, major restaurant brands are feasting on profits. In particular, the fast food and fast casual segments are picking up speed in the race to regain revenue lost during the pandemic. In some cases, sales are soaring past pre-pandemic levels.
Over the past year and a half, operators have addressed emerging pandemic-related consumer preference, safety and other needs by introducing innovative menu and operational changes—and a number have shown some staying power.
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As the chicken sandwich wars continue to reach new heights, it was inevitable that they would dovetail with another major foodservice trend: plant-based chicken. Protein alternatives in the category could rise fast in the pecking order of chicken sandwiches, given high demand for foods that are both flavorful and functional—a combination that COVID-19 has brought to the front burner of foodservice.
Looking for a return to “normal” in the foodservice industry as COVID-19 retreats? Even as restrictions are lifted and vaccination rates rise, the far-reaching impact of the pandemic—and the innovations it made necessary—continue to reshape the foodservice landscape.