CHICAGO — Thriving menu ingredients and flavors, 2022 trend predictions and insights into best-in-class, limited-time offers (LTOs) are highlights of Technomic’s new State of the Menu report, released March 9.
Foodservice operators, including convenience stores, face industry challenges that will likely persist for the near future, and this report details on how leading restaurant operators are finding ways to innovate amid ongoing labor and supply constraints. With consumers seeking new takes on familiar items, operators are finding creative ways to make classic dishes more exciting, according to CSP sister research firm Technomic, Chicago.
“Looking at the past year in review is essential to see what trends are influencing the foodservice industry, especially with the impact the pandemic has had on these menus,” said Katie Belflower, Technomic menu analyst. “With insights derived from data and analysis, we can provide recommended actions to help industry professionals leverage these trends and key themes.”
Key findings of the State of the Menu report include:
- Menu item counts have grown at convenience stores over the past year, up 3%, including 3.5% growth in entrees and 8.3% growth in desserts.
- Although menu item cuts are still significant at restaurants due to the pandemic—down 4.3% at limited-service restaurants (LSRs) and down 18% at full-service restaurants (FSRs) from fourth-quarter 2019 to fourth-quarter 2021)—the story is positive for c-stores, with menu item counts up 11.2% in that same period.
- Chicken continues to dominate LSR menus for lunch and dinner and has found a growing use in bowls, up 30.8% from fourth-quarter 2020 to fourth-quarter 2021.
- Breakfast value meals rise to the top of the fastest-growing FSR breakfast dishes, with a growth of 225% from fourth-quarter 2020 to fourth-quarter 2021.
- Nonalcohol beverages dominate breakfast items, with a 31.5% LSR operator penetration rate in fourth-quarter 2021.
The new State of the Menu report is part of Technomic’s Ignite Menu platform. Ignite is an online platform relied on by thousands of foodservice manufacturers and operators.
Technomic was founded as a management consulting firm in 1966. Since then, its services have grown to encompass cloud-based business-to-business research tools, consumer and menu trend tracking and other leading strategic research and analytic capabilities, to prioritize and size business opportunities. Clients include food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants, retailers and multiple other business verticals aligned with the food industry that are looking to make informed decisions to support their business growth.
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