Consumer demand for convenience seems to be picking up more and more speed in the foodservice industry. According to Mintel’s Foodservice Trends 2018, a quarter of consumers surveyed are dining out because they just don’t have the time to cook at home.1 What’s more, the shift away from traditional office environments to a remote workforce could help drive demand for all-day dining and delivery, especially with nearly one in 10 survey participants dining out to work remotely.2
Fast casual has been quick to turn a buck. As a subset of the limited service category, the segment seems to be feasting on market share. At a time when consumers hunger for quick and easy meal solutions that balance taste and nutrition, can an emphasis on good food fast be anything but a boon to the bottom line?
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.
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.
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
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
Hungry to explore new and interesting flavor experiences, today’s consumers can’t seem to get their fill of food halls, which are rapidly replacing food courts as the rage for high-traffic foodservice sales.
The future of foodservice seems poised to serve up a feast of profits. In the restaurant industry, sales this year are expected to grow 4.3% over the previous year to hit a record high of $799 billion.1 Size matters, and when it comes to market reach and sales volume, the restaurant business is a powerhouse of prodigious proportions, with nearly $1 out of every $2 spent on food allocated to restaurant operations.1
More and more restaurant operations are serving up loyalty programs to help drive sales and build customer loyalty.1 As technology-driven innovations such as app-enabled takeout transform the foodservice industry, restaurant loyalty programs are experiencing a surge in popularity worldwide.1
In a poll last year of 6,500 internet users in eight countries, multinational computer technology company Oracle found that 65% of respondents in the U.S. belonged to foodservice loyalty programs.1 The popularity of such programs was highest in respondents from the States, with Brazil (64%) and Mexico (62%) close behind.1 In Great Britain and Australia, more than half of consumers surveyed said they were foodservice loyalty program members.1
Let’s face it: Snack trends may come and go, but there’s one constant foodservice operators can rely on, and that’s the pivotal importance of taste and flavor in driving the consumer’s snack choices.