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According to its latest survey, "The Future of LSR: Fast-Foods & Fast-Casual Restaurants Consumer Trend Report," LSR account for more than of the industry's $200 billion in annual sales, despite low check averages in comparison to full-service restaurants.
The commercial foodservice industry was exactly the opposite regarding market share 10 years ago. In 2002, full-service restaurants accounted for 53 percent of industry sales, while LSRs contributed 47 percent. Today, LSRs account for 53 percent of commercial foodservice sales, while full-service restaurants contribute 47 percent.
"The key to LSR growth is differentiation," said Darren Tristano, Technomic's executive vice president. "Many LSRs that have demonstrated growth have a broad consumer appeal, yet each has a discerned approach. Consumers are looking for fresh, better quality ingredients, a contemporary décor and ambiance, and interactive service formats to offer something unique and enhance the customer experience."
Other findings from the Technomic study include: 72 percent of consumers visit a fast food restaurant once a week or more, while nearly half (49 percent) visit fast-casual restaurants; consumers visit fast-food and fast-casual restaurants for lunch more often than any other daypart; breakfast sandwiches have grown by 35 percent at fast-food restaurants; gluten-free options and "better-for-you" kids meals have propelled LSR menu development; and rustic, handheld street foods with a global spin have helped LSR menu developers create unique and craveable offerings.
The Technomic study surveyed 1,500 consumers about their attitudes and preferences toward fast-food and fast-casual restaurants.
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