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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.

Comfort Foods, Sweets Build Craveability with Customers

Last summer's Bacon Sundae from Burger King. Photo of poster/bmm

CHICAGO – Craveability is a major purchase driver for restaurants.

Second Quarter Continues 4 Year Full Service Restaurant Visit Losses

Source: The NPD Group/CREST® and CREST OnSite®, quarter ending June

CHICAGO — Consumers pulled back from visits to midscale and casual dining restaurants in April, May, and June, continuing a four-year streak of visit losses for the full service segment.

More Menus Offer Pork

red bean, rice and andouille sausage at Applebee's
photo of red bean and andouille sausage from Applebee's website

CHICAGO — Restaurants are expanding pork dishes, according to a survey of 2,000 restaurant menus by foodservice researcher Technomic.