Coke Solutions

2016 Foodservice Trends: Evolving Menus and Time-Saving Technology

How Dining Inclinations Impact Consumer Purchases

Part II of a two-part series.

What trends are influencing the foodservice industry this year?

Part I of this two-part series recapping a CokeSolutions webinar presented by market intelligence agency Mintel highlighted the importance of communicating to consumers the value-added benefits of food (from nutritional information to food origination) and the growing prevalence of on-demand dining from a variety of old and new sources.

In this second part of the series, we explore two more foodservice trends: extreme menu options and time-saving technology.

Evolving Menus
With the robust number of dining options, consumers can eat to extremes: no meat one day, all meat the next, for example. As such, Mintel reports that foodservice outlets are imagining varied products and services that appeal to a range of consumer mindsets on any given day. Think tiny desserts or mini coffees, which satiate a sweet tooth but keep calories in check, or menus that promote Meatless Mondays and then Meatlovers Tuesdays.

Mintel’s data revealed that 42% of diners choose a restaurant based on healthful snacks, while 44% select a restaurant based on decadent offerings. This polar-opposite behavior shows the spectrum of diner preferences, giving foodservice operators insight into what items can appeal to a wider variety of customers.

The research firm gives the example of a burger restaurant advertising two of its burgers on the same page — a hearty thick hamburger and a leaner all-natural burger. Expanded menu offerings that meet the need for healthier choices, as well as comfort food and cravings for sweets, can help attract more customers and boost revenue.

Time-Saving Technology
Smartphone apps for food ordering and payment are at the intersection of technology and dining. Mintel found that 35% of millennials who eat pizza say an app would entice them to order more often. A major coffee chain has capitalized on the demands of digitally savvy consumers by launching a mobile ordering platform.

Other high-tech trends gaining momentum are self-order drive-thru kiosks (ideal for brands that feature customizable items), tablets at tables, QR codes for ordering and even an app that can estimate calories based on a photo of the food. However, when it comes to technology designed to speed up or enhance the dining experience, consumers want convenience and control, explains Mintel, but not at the expense of quality.

The bottom line: Paying attention to dining trends and the ways in which consumers purchase food can have an impact on your business.  

Read the first part of the series here. For more on trends and other foodservice topics, sign up for the monthly Refreshing Insights by Coca-Cola. 

More Foodservice Insights:
Using Mobile Innovation and Marketing Data
Leveraging Consumer Enthusiasm
Understanding the Impact of Digital Platforms

Published: September 14, 2016