The Latest News

FE&S delivers relevant news of the day to the foodservice equipment and supplies marketplace.


LSRs Continue to Grab Foodservice Market Share


LSRs now account for 53 percent of the commercial foodservice industry.

Limited-service restaurants (LSRs) are the driving force behind the commercial foodservice industry, according to a new study by Chicago-based Technomic. LSRs accounted for more than half ($200 billion) of total industry sales despite their low check averages in comparison to full-service restaurants.

Ten years ago LSRs made up 47 percent of the total commercial foodservice industry while full-service restaurants (FSRs) made up 53 percent. Now the landscape has reversed; LSRs account for 53 percent and FSRs 47 percent. Within the LSR segment, fast-casual restaurants continue to gain market share while fast-food restaurants are working overtime to upscale their menu and concept positioning — not only to keep pace but to compete directly with fast-casual leaders, according to Technomic's The Future of LSR: Fast-Foods & Fast-Casual Restaurants Consumer Trend Report.

Fast-food patronage thrives on its convenience and value, while food distinction and ambiance are key factors driving patronage at fast-casual locations, according to Technomic. Look for a blurring of the lines between fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, with operators in each subsegment tweaking their concepts with new unit designs and convenient service formats in order to remain competitive.

Other findings from the Technomic study include:

  • Consumer disparity — 72 percent of consumers visit fast-food restaurants once a week or more, while only half (49 percent) visit fast-casual restaurants, partly because there are fewer locations but also because they are more attractive to higher income consumers.
  • Lunch patronage — Consumers visit fast-food and fast-casual restaurants for lunch more often than for any other daypart; 21 percent purchase fast-food lunches at least twice a week and 19 percent visit fast-casual restaurants, largely due to time pressures.
  • Menu incidence — Breakfast sandwiches have grown by 35 percent at fast-food restaurants and by 29 percent at fast-casual chains, showing the strength of breakfast entrées at LSRs.
  • Health and wellness — Gluten-free options and the growing importance of better-for-you kids' meals continue to guide better-for-you LSR menu development.
  • Global inspiration — Street food influences continue. Rustic, handheld street foods with a global spin have helped LSR menu developers create unique offerings. Consumers look for new flavor supplements for their sophisticated palettes.