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How do restaurant customers define value? While "quality for the price" tops the list, fresh ingredients and a variety of choices are close behind, according to a recent NPD report entitled Defining Value: Where Consumers Choose to Eat Out. The report identifies five segments of diners, the largest of which are not driven by low pricing and deals.
Industry research has put the spotlight on smoking, calling it out as a superstar preparation technique.  It’s not smoke and mirrors—as it has for thousands of years, smoking continues to be a go-to method to enhance the natural flavors of a variety of foods.
Assessments of consumer preferences repeatedly turned during a conference this week for limited-service operators to observations that experience is outshining food as a customer draw. In particular, speakers cautioned the audience of retail foodservice specialists to question long-held assumptions about how to woo and please patrons. For instance, speed of service may not be as much of a delight as it once was. Indeed, one speaker at the FARE event noted, it’s a bad business strategy.
In an early assessment of what restaurants can expect for 2014, Technomic is forecasting a slight uptick in sales for limited-service outlets and bars, but no change for the nation’s full-service establishments. Overall, the research and consulting company predicted Wednesday that commercial foodservice establishments will split a 4.5 percent increase in sales, the equivalent of a 1 percent increase in inflation-adjusted or real terms. The forecast assumes that menu prices will rise by about 3 percent, the same increase that Technomic projects for 2013.
The restaurant industry of your future may look and feel much like the restaurant industry of your past, according to new research from the National Restaurant Association, but familiarity isn’t likely to make the business any easier. Last fall, the association asked a panel of industry savants to envision and describe what the restaurant business would be like in 2020, a research process known as the Delphi Method. The crystal ball gazers offered projections on a variety of areas, including menus, operations, technology, personnel demographics, and customer preferences.
Sandwiches are the most menued item in restaurants, according to Technomic data. Fast-casual concepts are leading the charge, but sandwiches appear in every segment and cuisine. What's more, they are prevalent in every daypart: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Here's the latest on what's happening between the bread.
When it comes to attracting restaurant customers, restroom cleanliness may be as important as food, service and ambience. That finding was reported in a survey of over 1,000 adults by Clorox Professional Products Company.
Shareable meals, fueled by the trends of small plates and communal tables, have proven to be more than just a passing fad. Seventy percent of consumers order shareable meals so they can try more than one item on the menu, reveals a report by Technomic. Sharing small plates with dining companions also creates a more party-like experience—another craving patrons are seeking to satisfy. More than any other factor, 69 percent of consumers report that dining with friends contributes to a fun, exciting restaurant experience.
Operators that offer a larger selection of wine brands sell more wine, especially at bars. So found a survey of 2,000 U.S. drinkers over the age of 21, reported by Alcoholic Beverage Demand/Tracker.
Cleanliness (96%), menu selection and variety (94%) and comfortable seating (91%) are the most important components of creating a visit-worthy atmosphere at a restaurant, according to a new report from Mintel.
May is National Burger Month and many restaurants are celebrating with promotions of the all-American favorite. In addition to grilling up specials, Hard Rock Cafe conducted a survey of their fans around the globe to get a handle on international burger-eating habits.
With Congress eying proposals to update the regulation of immigrant workers, the National Restaurant Association has released data that shows the restaurant industry is warming to one of the main enforcement tools, the E-Verify system.