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Same-restaurant Sales Soften in May

DALLAS –Same-restaurant sales were 1.1 percent during May, which represents a 0.8 percent drop from the growth rate reported for April. Despite the softening sales growth during the month, the industry has now posted eleven consecutive months of positive same-store sales growth and Q2 is poised to become the fourth consecutive quarter of positive growth in comparable stores, a first in almost three years.

Banner Burger Year for Eateries

Burger Bar of San Jose, California. Photo by Thomas Hawk

CHICAGO — Against the backdrop of sagging traffic for restaurants as a whole, burgers ordered at U.S. foodservice outlets had a banner year in 2014. That upward push is despite the weight of higher beef prices. It seems inflating beef prices have incentivized casual dining restaurants to add burgers. That is to say, consumers chose burgers over increasingly pricier steak and other beef entrees.

2015 will be a Different Story

Last year in my post, Restaurant Recovery: One Stair Step at a Time, I pointed out the steady, if slow, growth of U.S. foodservice industry sales in the last half of 2013.

Consumers Say Want Healthier Menus at Big Chains

Jason's Deli
Salad & cancer center sign on every Jason's Deli table. photo by bmm

CHICAGO – Consumers say that major chains are missing the mark in their lack of healthy menu item offerings. According to restaurant researcher Technomic's white paper, Better-for-You Chains: Consumer Ratings of Restaurants' Healthy Offerings, a majority of consumers say it is important for restaurants—even quick-service concepts—to ensure that healthy options are offered.

Beverage Innovation Helps Restaurant Visits

CHICAGO—A fifth of today's consumers (21 percent, up from 16 percent in 2012) say that beverages play a very important role in deciding which restaurants to visit for meals. This increase is primarily driven by consumers aged 18 to 44, who tend to use beverages for a variety of occasions, including snacks and social visits.

Consumers Mainly Eat Alone

Source: The NPD Group/National Eating Trends

CHICAGO —Consumers in America have become less household-oriented and more individualized than previous generations. Over 50 percent of eating and beverage consumption happens when consumers are alone, according to a foodservice researcher.

Fast-Casual Continues to Outpace Other Restaurants

Panera Bread drive-thru
A Panera Bread drive-thru. Photo by Blue MauMau

CHICAGO –A food researcher says that the fast-casual segment continues to steal share from full-service chains and drive limited-service growth, making up 15 percent of the $231 billion limited-service restaurant segment.

Diners Want More Vegetables on Menu

CHICAGO – Total menu incidence of vegetables has increased over 11 percent in the past three years. Not only are these super foods more prevalent in restaurants today, but the most innovative operators are transforming vegetables like eggplant, cauliflower and zucchini into center-of-the-plate options.

As Dessert Definition Expands, So Does Consumption

CHICAGO—What actually is dessert? Is it the sweet ending to a dinner meal, or something bigger?

Fast-Casual in 2013 Still Sizzles

A colorful Panera Bread. photo by bmm

CHICAGO – Fast casual makes up only 14 percent of the $223 billion limited-service restaurant segment, but its sales continue to sizzle past other segments.