The chicken sandwich wars have catapulted a menu staple to new heights of popularity and profitability. America’s insatiable appetite for chicken sandwich variations and a young market hungry for bold new taste adventures have dovetailed to create sky-high demand for chicken innovation. As a result, the stakes for quick-service chains clawing their way up the pecking order of chicken sandwich concepts continues to rise.
Snacks continue to evolve far beyond the occasional treat—and sales have been sweet. In fact, over the past two years, the snackification of consumers’ eating behavior has become so widespread, snacking now accounts for 48% of all eating and drinking occasions, according to the market research firm The Hartman Group.1
Consumers love to feast on sports and food—and the restaurant industry learned long ago that pairing the two is a powerful way to score big business. Sports with a side order of food (and vice versa) is a surefire way to bring stadium-capacity crowds of sports fans to the table for special promotions and limited time offers.
Pre-pandemic, build-your-own was on the verge of becoming a big foodservice trend as operators strove to satisfy millennials’ appetite for culinary experimentation and customization. But fallout from COVID-19 forced restaurants to trim menus and refocus on core offerings, leaving little room for mix-and-match varieties and personalized mashups.
Roiled by the pandemic, 2020 became the year of transformation for the foodservice industry. Regroup, reassess and reinvent have become the gotta-get-it-done directives for foodservice operators, topping the menu of must-dos for moving forward.