Forward-thinking operators know the importance of understanding foodservice trends. But the real value — the point where information and profitability intersect — is the ability to leverage the intelligence to make a difference in sales. This is precisely why The Coca-Cola Company shares industry information and tips for influencing customer perceptions, behaviors, and ultimately, purchases. By leveraging one or all of the following foodservice trends, operators have a direct line to customers, and a clear path to driving growth opportunities.
1. Trend: Value Plus
Customers want meals that provide a good value, and 58% of people say that value is an important influence in deciding where they go and what to order.1 The Value Plus trend, exhibited by the Value Bundle Wars, delivers enhanced value in order to drive growth in sales and profitability.
In addition, limited time offers and specialty menu items can be used by operators to drive enhanced value while unlocking higher margin opportunities, particularly since 89% of customers say they are likely to visit a restaurant for signature items, and 52% will pay more for them.2
2. Trend: Evolution of Healthy Choices
More customers today are interested in holistic health, and their food and beverage purchases follow the desire for wellness. Customers want simpler ingredients, including more fresh choices, and 45% of millennials believe clean eating affects their overall quality of life.3 Approximately 44% of guests also want more information about what they are consuming, including where the ingredients come from.4 And finally, guests want menus that provide both healthy choices and the option for more indulgent items.
3. Trend: Flexibility and Discovery
Customers want barrier-free dining, greater control, and more flavor choices. They want expanding occasions, such as breakfast all day and snacking, and the ability to customize their choices to make them their own. New and interesting flavors are also important in deciding where to go and what to order, according to 24% of customers.5
4. Trend: Hyper Convenience
Busy lives mean plenty of on-the-go dining, and guests demand convenient meal and beverage solutions. Retail channels such as convenience stores and grocers are focused on improving the quality and experience of their foodservice offers for guests. Delivery (excluding pizza), which has increased 8% annually since 2013, also caters to the need for convenience.⁶ With 33% of consumers saying that ordering takeout is essential to their lives, operators are wise to enhance the utility of takeout and drive-thru service.⁷
5. Trend: Digitization
There’s no doubt that technology is transforming customer expectations, but it’s also changing operations and the end-to-end guest experience. Operators can leverage the power of social media to build their brands, particularly since 34% of customers say info they find on these platforms influences their restaurant choice.8 Operators can also leverage in-outlet ordering technology for convenience and speed (61% of customers are willing to use an electronic ordering kiosk), and use data-driven marketing to drive guest loyalty.9
6. Trend: Brand Authenticity
Customers want to support brands that are authentic in their values and identity. Brands that offer eco-friendly foods are in demand. Share what the establishment does for the community (how it helps people, animals, and earth) because communicating a clear, authentic brand story is important to about one-third of all guests.10
Look for opportunities to capitalize on any of these trends to help grow sales in 2017 and beyond.
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¹ Datassential/IFMA CPP, 2015
² Technomic Value & Pricing Consumer Trends Report, 2015
³ A Generational Study: The Evolution of Eating, The NPD Group, 2016
⁴ Datassential/IFMA CPP, 2015
⁵ Datassential/IFMA CPP, 2015
⁶ The NPD Group/CREST annual delivery traffic Total Restaurants excluding QSR Retail, QSR Pizza – year-end April 2013 – year-end April 2016
⁷ National Restaurant Association 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast
⁸ National Restaurant Association 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast
⁹ National Restaurant Association – 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast (57% are willing to use an electronic menu and ordering station or tablet in the future in full service restaurants)
¹⁰ Datassential/IFMA CPP, 2015.