The only constant is change.
Insight guru Warren Solochek takes a deep dive into industry data this month to provide a no-nonsense analysis of the industry. Readers can look forward to his continued perspective throughout the year as part of FE&S’s 2020 Vision series. Now an independent foodservice industry consultant, Solochek’s been trend-spotting for nearly 40 years, most recently for NPD Group Inc.
The Americans with Disabilities Act impacts the way customers enter and exit foodservice operations and experience every point in between. Two critical aspects of foodservice operations that continue to evolve are serving and seating areas.
Stadium food as destination dining? That is not a far-fetched notion. Selection, food quality, menu flexibility and customer service have become focal points for stadium foodservice operators. Many stadium facilities already have become food destinations, according to Los Angeles-based IBISWorld. Demand for food and beverages in this segment grew between 2014 and 2019, along with the steady increase in attendance at sports and other entertainment events.
Move over chicken fingers and mac and cheese; kids’ menus have become more diverse, incorporating appealing ingredients in formats that are palatable for the younger set. As quick-service chains revamp their offerings with more nutritious vegetable sides and fruit desserts, independents continue to reformulate their kids’ menu items to be more diverse. Along with better-for-you options, more ethnic dishes with globally inspired ingredients are starting to appear on these menus.
Ask five people in foodservice-related occupations to give their predictions for 2020, and you’ll hear five totally different answers (or almost totally different). One concern — finding and keeping good employees — affects every aspect of foodservice, from front-of-the-house service to sales to consulting. With that as a starting point, five foodservice industry leaders share their vision for 2020 and beyond.
With the U.S. commercial casino industry posting another record-setting year with consumer spending in 2018, according to the most recent report from Washington, D.C.-based American Gaming Association (AGA), this segment of the foodservice industry remains ripe with opportunity.
Noncommercial operators find success integrating retail components.
It’s a simple fact: Drinks have significantly higher profit margins than food, making smooth, efficient bar operations mission critical for most restaurants. The ability to serve more drinks — and to do so more quickly — equates directly to higher profits and that fact makes careful, strategic design the foundation for highly efficient, profitable bars. A cornerstone of that foundation for many is the service bar, an important area of beverage-program support that can help eliminate service bottlenecks and free the bar proper to focus on the business at hand — engaging with and servicing guests at the bar.
Today’s casual dining brands face growing competition from fast-casual concepts, food halls, chef-driven, fine-dining restaurants and nontraditional operators. It’s an increasingly crowded, diverse industry. To stand out, many operators continue to rethink and enhance branding, strategy, design and operations. One such restaurant chain is Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, a Florida-based, family sports-centric restaurant with an Irish pub theme and a menu of burgers, steaks and other beef-based items, along with chicken wings, comfort food and lighter, grilled items.
As the lines between retail and foodservice continue to blur, specifying opportunities in the convenience-store segment may rise. Ryan Krebs, director of food service for Rutter’s, a 72-unit chain based in York, Pa., outlines 5 c-store-specific equipment and design needs.
Years after flooding urban markets across the country, concepts that started as food trucks are morphing into more permanent brick-and-mortar spaces. One such example of a food truck finding a permanent parking place in the brick-and-mortar world is Boston-based Clover Food Lab. Here Lucia Jazayeri, creative director at Clover Food Lab, maps out the company’s transition.
Much like a discussion of the Greatest Of All Time in any given sport, discussing the best barbecue style can evolve into a heated debate. “It is one of those few foods that holds nostalgia,” says Rémy Thurston, marketing director, FS Food Group, a Charlotte, N.C.-based operator that has four different restaurant brands under its umbrella. “People recognize barbecue more in the South, but it can be difficult because the best barbecue is the one you grew up with.”