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CHICAGO – Technomic Inc. released its forecast for the top 10 trends that are likely to influence the restaurant and foodservice industries in 2014.
These predictions are based on site visits evaluating the restaurant scene in cities across the United States; interviews and surveys of operators, chefs and consumers; qualitative data from the researcher’s Digital Resource Library; and quantitative data from its MenuMonitor database.
The 2014 trends most relevant to the convenience store industry include:
- Creamy, cheesy, high-fat goodness – Although there is a real demand for healthier eating, there is also a backlash, and there will likely be more items such as cheese melts, fried snacks and pasta with creamy sauces. However, super-indulgent limited items such as Wendy's nine-patty burger are designed to gain social media buzz, not sales.
- Day for night – Consumers are less likely to eat three standard meals per day and will eat snacks, skip meals, eat breakfast for dinner and more. More restaurants are introducing unusual breakfast items that are available all day, and some are promoting late-night breakfast menus, often associated with 24-hour drive-thrus.
- Every daypart is a snack daypart – As the snacking lifestyle becomes mainstream, diners are less interested in specific snack menus. Millennials, in particular, see dollar and dollar-plus menus as snack menus. Limited-service restaurants are paying more attention to snack-size handhelds and car-friendly packaging, and offering more grab-and-go or market-style items. Full-service restaurants are catering to the snacking-and-sharing mentality by offering pairings, trios and flights from all parts of the menu.
- For fast service, bring your own device – All foodservice segments are using technology for faster, more accurate ordering. The industry will primarily see a bring-your-own-device system of advance ordering and inside-the-outlet ordering for restaurants.
- Everything is political – Some operators saw customer backlash after expressing views related to Obamacare and other hot-button issues, while others saw increased traffic based on their expressed views. Consumers are increasingly aware that the personal is political. Therefore, the choices of the restaurants they patronize have consequences. As a result, consumers will consciously or unconsciously gravitate toward retailers that share their world view, and some outlets will promote this cultural identification.
Technomic's full 2014 trend forecast is available here on its website.