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Reopening Regulations Lead to New Formats and Menu Innovations
China has put several parts of Beijing under lockdown following a spike in recent virus infections. The second wave prevention measures include the closure of some bars and the sanitization of restaurants.
South Africa is now allowing restaurants to offer dine-in service after having been under one of the world’s tightest lockdowns since late March.
Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled that prohibitions on business reopenings are unconstitutional, opening the door for restaurant dining rooms and bars to welcome guests again.
Governors in both Texas and Florida announced that restaurant dining rooms can reopen at 25% capacity. However, in Florida, stay-at-home orders remain in place for the more...
Technomic: Recent Protests Resulted in Restaurant Foot Traffic Declines
Major cities where protests were held, including Minneapolis, experienced declines in QSR and overall restaurant foot traffic that overindex national levels.
There is significant concern that the virus will reappear
Driven by the New England region (88%) and consumers ages 55-64 (85%), the vast majority (77%) express concern that the virus will be back before the end of year. On the flip side, 32% of West North Central and 31% of consumers ages 18-24 report that they are not concerned or very concerned.
Employees’ safety and health are top of mind for operators
Healthcare operators are more likely to be concerned with...
Uncertainty Surrounds the Reopening of Businesses
While the reopening of businesses shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic is a significant step forward, the rate at which the economy will recover or consumers will feel comfortable resuming activities such as dining out or shopping remains to be seen.
“Is it possible the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is behind us? Maybe, but we are not out of the woods yet, and uncertainty abounds,” said National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.
Kleinhenz added, “Predicting what will happen is even more challenging than usual. While history often helps guide us, previous downturns offer little guidance on what is likely to unfold over the next six to 12 months. There is no user’s manual in which government, businesses or consumers can find...
Technomic: Turmoil, Uncertainty and Some Relief Expected for Foodservice Over the Next 18 Months
The foodservice industry will experience significant declines in 2020.
The degree of decline will be dependent upon the timing of lifting restaurant closure restrictions, the status of school and college openings in the fall, the degree of travel return and a possible second COVID-19 wave in the fall.
Healthcare and retail hosts will be the strongest performers
In terms of segments, healthcare will perform at the strongest level in 2020, followed by retail hosts (e.g., c-stores, supermarkets) and limited-service restaurants. Retail and healthcare are less impacted by closures and LSR is strongly positioned for off-premise business. The most affected segments are...
Technomic: Consumer Perspective on Social Distancing Measures within Restaurants
Following CDC guidelines for safe social distancing, half of consumers would be comfortable dining in at restaurants with a 6-foot distance between tables. However, more than a quarter would be more comfortable with 9-15 feet.
More consumers willing to social distance than wear protective gear
More than half of consumers would follow social distancing measures, but less than half would be willing to wear a mask or gloves when in a restaurant. Consumers ages 35-44 are more likely to...
Technomic: Supply Chain Issues Likely to Continue
As news of outbreaks within the food supply chain spread, restaurant operators started to grow wearier of their prospects. Concerns about commodity spikes and/or shortages are compounding the negative outlook operators already had because of the impact of shelter-in-place orders and consumer changes in behavior. Operators are taking extraordinary measures to ensure the health and safety of their staff and customers alike, as many recognize the failure to do so could lead to rebound in contagion rates, put their staff in danger and undermine their growth.
The good news is that curbside, drive-thru and limited takeout appear to be growing to levels that are allowing sustainable levels of sales to occur for...
Technomic: Foodservice Spending Continues a Slow Rebound
Consumer spending estimates bottomed out at a decrease of 35% of expected sales the week of April 12 and has grown to a level that may be pulling us off the bottom of the market. The cumulative loss in spending has declined for the first week since the start of the pandemic. However, it is important to note that previous weeks showed fluctuations that could foretell more up and down movement in the trends in coming weeks.
Off-premise ordering at FSRs sees high growth this week
Ordering by nondelivery, off-premise methods has increased across all segments this week. For fast-food restaurants, this was driven by drive-thru orders (59%). Growth at FSRs was driven by a mix of drive-thru and takeout orders. Overall, casual-dining and fine-dining restaurants saw the largest jump...
Technomic: Uncertainty Surrounds How and When to Reopen the Economy
Conflicting opinions between federal, state and local officials
With the publication of federal guidelines, some states have received mixed signals from high-level officials on the proper timing of reopening. There is a vocal segment of the population pushing their states to reopen and a handful of states are moving in that direction, despite public health warnings of a prolonged outbreak in their states.
Public health projections on the timing of the pandemic are a work in progress
Testing protocols have reached their current capacity and there is growing concern that previously reported plateaus reflect a peak in the number of tests being provided as opposed to...
Technomic: Canadian Foodservice View During Coronavirus Pandemic
When news of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China first broke, it was impossible to fully comprehend the global devastation that would follow. Canada confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Jan. 25 and, as of April 15, the country’s surge of confirmed cases had reached 28,364. While a national mandatory stay-at-home order has yet to be enacted, most provinces have ordered nonessential business workers to self-quarantine until virus concerns subside.
For restaurant operators, consumers’ fears of public spaces as well as government recommendations and regulations have been damaging to business. Suspended dine-in service has forced operators to pivot to takeaway, drive-thru and delivery models only, but even those changes haven’t...
Technomic Forecasts Recovery Process for Foodservice as a New Normal Takes Shape
This information is pulled from Technomic’s Foodservice Impact Monitor, which shares sentiment and behavior tracking to help support the transition from crisis response to near- and long-term planning. View some highlights pulled from the most recent report below, focusing more on recovery than COVID-19 responses, as we continue to enter a “new normal” in the foodservice industry.
The ‘Four S’ Process of Recovery
Survival. The first month of the recovery was focused on containing and minimizing the economic damage that the pandemic was causing. Restaurants scrambled to adjust to off-premise service or closed entirely opting to focus on lobbying efforts to gain...
Technomic Predicts 2020 Will Be the Most Challenging Year For the Top 500 Chain Restaurants
Technomic released the Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, which ranks each top chain by sales performance for the previous year. This year’s report includes insight into what to expect for 2020. Although uncertainty remains about the toll that COVID-19 will have on performance, the initial forecast predicts overall sales to decrease by 12% to 17% this year.
“While the Top 500 chains saw a relatively solid overall sales increase in 2019, the growth gap between the largest players and midsize chains continues to widen,” explains Kevin Schimpf, senior research manager at Technomic. “The 5.7% sales boost achieved by the top 20 chains significantly...
Technomic Projects Foodservice Sales for March to Fall Between a 31% to 48% Drop from February
The first two months of the year were shaping up well for the foodservice industry, with a roughly 4% increase in sales year over year for the months of January and February—months which are typically slower historically. Typically, March sees 12% higher sales than February—the lowest month of the year. Right now, our preliminary projections for March fall between a 31% and 48% drop in sales from February—a net loss of 43% to 60% from the expected monthly sales gain typically seen in March.
Sales and traffic declines more extreme for beyond restaurant operators
More than half (57%) of beyond restaurant operators report a sales decrease of more than 70% over the prior year, and 63% report a traffic decrease of more than...
Technomic: Decrease in Consumer Spending Levels Off Slightly
Within the past week, it became clear that the timing and scope of the pandemic will be highly localized because of fragmented government actions and variable social distancing practices by location. This will likely lead to a geography-dependent economic recovery timeline, with early adopter states experiencing a potentially quicker return to normal compared to later adopters. This COVID-19 update from Technomic’s Foodservice Impact Monitor explores the continued effect on the industry, including consumer spending leveling off and some innovative initiatives from operators.
Unemployment claims have grown from 3 million the previous week to over 6 million in the last report. It remains to be seen if the government stimulus will be enough to counteract that...
Technomic: Potential Economic Shock from Coronavirus Pandemic is Unprecedented
There is wide disagreement about whether COVID-19 will be an economic shock with a sharp recovery or if it will pull the economy into a sluggish recession. The previous worst quarter in U.S. history for GDP was Q2 2009, immediately after the economic crash. That quarter, the GDP dove by 3.9%, a fraction of the projections we are seeing as a result of COVID-19. The economic shock from this event is unprecedented.
Consumer spending on foodservice continues to drop. For the average consumer, Technomic research suggests that spending has declined by an estimated 45% from a typical week in February, with further planned reductions expected to come. Consumer demand is still present in the marketplace, but as the pandemic has heightened and concerns have grown, a new normal is setting in. Shelter-in-place and social distancing actions have resulted in...
Technomic: Foodservice Growth Projected to Decline 11-27% in 2020 Due to Coronavirus
COVID-19 continues to disrupt the entire foodservice industry and will only continue to have significant consequences. Using our current understanding of the crisis, we modeled out numerous scenarios to understand the scope of its impact. Presently, the expected foodservice impact ranges from a decline of 11% to 27% in year-over-year growth for 2020.
But while most of the changes seem grim, there are also signs of hope, specifically from the operators who are adapting their service model in response to the new environment.
It’s no surprise that travel and leisure will take the biggest hit. The business and industry sector is being severely impacted by office closures and...
Technomic’s Take: COVID-19, The Foodservice View
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has become a familiar part of our lexicon in a very short period of time. Since its appearance in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, world and government agencies are fearful that the COVID-19 outbreak could turn into the world’s most severe pandemic since the H1N1 influenza of 1918. As of March 4, more than 93,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed, resulting in over 3,000 deaths.
China represents more than 85% of the cases and about 95% of the fatalities, however, the virus has spread to over 73 countries and territories and the number of cases outside of China is growing at concerning rates. The outbreak is expected to have a major impact on an already tenuous worldwide economy, with economists recently downgrading global GDP expectations anywhere from...
Technomic Releases Foodservice Technology Program and Consumer Trend Study
Recent research as part of Technomic’s foodservice technology program sheds a light on the fast-paced and evolving influence technology has on consumers’ dining experiences. Brands must balance leveraging technology to foster a greater connection with guests and maintaining their trust in terms of privacy and control over personal data.
“Technology is becoming more ingrained in the foodservice industry and is rapidly evolving,” explains Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Operators will need to work with their partners to...
Technomic: Retail Foodservice Purchases on the Rise Compared to 2017
Technomic found that 66% of consumers purchase prepared foods from retail at least three times a month, compared to 55% in 2017. Technomic’s 2019 Retail Foodservice Consumer Trend Report takes a look at what’s driving this growth, including recent retailer investments in foodservice menu variety and quality.
“Regularly scheduled grocery trips drive many prepared foods purchases as consumers appreciate being able to take care of grocery shopping while also having access to a freshly prepared meal or snack,” explains Bret Yonke, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Moving forward, full-service restaurant and food hall experiences will begin to...
Technomic Releases 2020 Global Restaurant Trends
The end of another decade offers a great opportunity to reflect on just how dynamic and fast-moving the restaurant industry truly is. Plant-based “meats,” third-party delivery apps, social media-friendly dining spaces—these were not much more than blips on the radar in 2010. But in 2020, they are essential and vital to the industry.
Looking ahead, expect to see many of last year’s macro trends evolve and mature, while quick-moving fads burn bright and fade. We can also expect the unexpected—a viral video that sparks the end of plastic straws, restaurant brands that mushroom from one to 1,000 locations seemingly overnight—all seems...
Technomic: Brands Must Differentiate to Stay Ahead as Competition for Breakfast Heats Up
As more players fight for share, breakfast wars are intensifying. Technomic’s 2019 Breakfast Consumer Trend Report takes a look at what brands can do to stay ahead of competition, such as adapting to off-premise trends by way of enhancing ordering amenities, updating menus with bold flavor innovation and adding healthier options. Convenience should also be a big focus, including for weekend occasions.
“Moving forward, brands must differentiate themselves from competitors to drive customer loyalty,” explains Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Adapting off-premise capabilities and creating innovative menus to meet consumers’ increasing needs for...
Technomic’s Take: 2020 Canada Trends
Chillier weather and holidays on the horizon signify a special time for Technomic: the coming year’s foodservice trend predictions. Our 2020 trends—which touch on menu, operations and labour—reflect today’s biggest cultural, governmental and consumer shifts impacting macro industry trends. Operators and suppliers need to understand how and why macro trends such as health, sustainability, technology and employee engagement are changing in order to succeed in today’s highly competitive foodservice arena. Read ahead for Technomic’s expert predictions of the trends that will have the greatest impressions on foodservice in 2020.
Operators will shine a light on aquatic-based ingredients in a plethora of new ways. Not only will restaurants continue to highlight less familiar seaweeds, algae and sea plants, including...
Technomic: Off-Premise Occasions Impact Consumers Desire to Try New Flavors
While consumer demand for flavor innovation is high, Technomic’s 2019 Flavor Consumer Trend Report reveals that consumers’ willingness to try new flavors varies by dining occasion. Consumers are less likely to experiment with flavors when ordering delivery rather than dine-in or takeout. Opportunity exists in offering foods exclusive to specific order formats, such as dine-in or delivery-only menus or free delivery promotions for specific menu items.
“Consumers are already hesitant to pay for something they might not like when trying new dishes, and the added cost of delivery simply exacerbates this concern,” explains Charles Winship, manager at Technomic. “Operators may consider bringing more familiar ingredients and...
Technomic’s Take: 7 Hot Trends to Watch for 2020
That’s the central theme that emerged as we at Technomic considered the patterns, hurdles and opportunities that are poised to affect the restaurant and foodservice industry as we head into 2020.
While some noteworthy trends were expected and others have turned out to be a bit more surprising, common threads of connection among these trends were revealed during our research.
Ever-shifting demands for health and flavor innovation are guiding menus toward new sustainably grown and sourced ingredients, which connects to an elevated prioritization around waste reduction—both on the menu and in back of the house. But this heightened sense of...
Technomic: Operators Must Showcase Value and Innovation to Gain Share of Pasta and Noodle Occasions
Consumption of pasta and noodle dishes in Canada is high but skews significantly toward at-home occasions, according to Technomic’s new 2019 Canadian Pasta Consumer Trend Report. In order to drive sales, operators should offer a unique draw for consumers that they won’t be able to find elsewhere.
“Operators need to convey that their pasta and noodle dishes are worth the price of dining out and offer a meal that simply can’t be replicated at home,” explains Charles Winship, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Authentic preparations, high-quality ingredients and innovative flavour profiles can all help elevate dishes, improving value perceptions.”
Key takeaways from the report include...
Technomic: Small Plates, Starters, and Sides Positioned to Gain Popularity
With consumers’ desire for innovation increasing and snacking becoming more of a habit, mealparts such as starters, small plates and sides are well-positioned to gain share of stomach. Technomic’s 2019 Starters, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trend Report explores how these mealparts can help foodservice brands maximize existing opportunities and overcome potential challenges.
“Starters, small plates and sides are flexible menu offerings that provide the innovation consumers seek at a lower risk than larger menu items,” explains Anne Mills, senior manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “While the lower price points and smaller portions mean these mealparts are great platforms for experimentation, rising menu prices increase the risk. As prices rise, brands must work to maintain, if not boost, value perceptions through bolder innovation and...
Technomic: Beverage Category Ripe with Opportunity
Beverages have always played a significant role in foodservice and the category is continuously evolving. Technomic’s recently released Away-from-Home Beverage Study covers how consumer demands and business conditions have shifted within the past few years.
“Beverage growth has outpaced that of foodservice within the past few years thanks to innovative options such as nitro coffee, plant-based milks and other alternative beverages entering this space,” explains David Henkes, principal at Technomic. “Although challenges like third-party delivery are encroaching on beverage occasions, the category has a lot of opportunities available through offering a wide variety of innovative beverage options to their guests.”
Innovation is Bringing New Excitement to the Burger Category in Canada
More Canadians today than a year ago say they’re ordering burgers from foodservice at least once a month, and the growth of the LSR burger category is outpacing the industry. In the 2019 Canadian Burger Consumer Trend Report, Technomic dives into the factors at play, including innovations such as plant-based burgers and unique flavour profiles.
“The bigger the burger category gets, the more important it is that operators maintain points of differentiation,” explains Charles Winship, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Responding to demands for plant-based options as well as spicier, bolder flavours will be critical as brands look to offer burgers that truly stand out.”
Technomic: Shifting Definitions of Value Increasingly Include Food Quality and Service
Value remains a vital component in the path to purchase, with 76% of consumers saying it’s a very important factor when deciding where to dine. Technomic’s 2019 Value & Pricing Consumer Trend Report also reveals that roughly one-quarter of consumers say their definition of value has changed over the past two years, with food quality and service, in particular, playing an increasing role in the value proposition.
“As definitions of value continue to evolve, operators will need to renew their focus on meeting, if not exceeding, expectations across all aspects of the value equation—food quality, price, service and atmosphere,” explains Bret Yonke, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “Moving forward, look for high-traffic, high-volume segments like fast food to further experiment with subscription models, such as...
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