Delivering the Future of Fast Casual

Dozens of fast-casual brands have been making smart investments in the guest experience within their restaurants, from remodeled dining rooms to digital kiosks or apps that make ordering faster and easier. Some forward-thinking chains are making these in-restaurant improvements now, laying the groundwork for a future in which that level of service extends “beyond the […]

Meatless Options Appeal to Fast-Casual Consumers Beyond Lent

It’s the time of year for fish sandwiches and other limited-time offerings for Lent, when restaurants hope to stay top-of-mind for those who avoid meat on Fridays or for the entire season. Some fast-casual players have joined in the fun: Pollo Tropical brought back its Grilled Shrimp for a limited time; Newk’s Eatery debuted ahi […]

Operators Take a Crack at Nut Flavors in Adult Beverages

Nuts have become a popular addition to non-alcohol beverages with trends in non-dairy milk alternatives and coffee flavorings. But nutty flavors in adult beverages are also growing, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor online resource. Mentions of nuts—including almond, hazelnut, walnut, macadamia and more—have increased 22% from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the same period in […]

Questioning Their Loyalty

Technomic’s finding that several of the largest and most well-established adult beverage brands are challenged while smaller labels are accelerating raised some questions from beverage pros about the state of brand loyalty. In this age of product proliferation, expanding drink portfolios and shifting flavor preferences, it’s a valid concern. Checking in with the 2014 BarTAB report, we […]

Small Plates Making Big Gains on Canadian Menus

Despite overall constriction of menus at Canadian restaurants, some areas have seen growth in the past few years, among them snacks and small plates. Starbucks Canada recently announced it would begin offering small-plate options before the end of the year, joining numerous restaurants that are already participating in this trend. Over the past five years, […]

Starbucks Canada Expands the Brand with New Service, Menu Offerings

Starbucks Canada has room to grow, and some recently announced initiatives have the potential to boost sales and expand the coffee chain’s core customer base. Starbucks made headlines earlier this month when it announced that it would offer wine, beer and tapas-style small plates at the chain’s Toronto and other big-city locations by the end of […]

New Full-Service Spinoffs Heat Up Competition in Fast Casual

The restaurant industry has been abuzz with the success of fast casual, and full-service restaurants have made their own attempts to get in on the action. Recently, a new crop of full-service restaurants is launching fast-casual spinoffs in the hopes of capturing the increasing number of consumers in search of high-quality, convenient fare at a lower price […]

Fast Casual’s Healthy Dose of Reinvention

Perceptions of better health have always weighed in fast-casual restaurants’ favor, which is probably why more brands are renewing their focus on healthfulness in the hopes of restarting or accelerating sales growth. R.J. Dourney, the chief executive and largest franchisee of Così Inc., said precisely that in a recent interview with Nation’s Restaurant News, calling […]

State of the Alcohol Beverage Industry 2015: Small Is Big

The early results from 2014 tell a very clear story about the dynamics at play in the alcohol industry: The small are getting bigger, and the big, for the most part, aren’t. Beer held its majority share of total alcohol volume, but another year of overall decline resulted in beer again ceding some share to […]

Herbal Tease: Aromatics Add New Notes to Cocktails

Consumers have grown accustomed to herbs like mint and basil in their cocktails, so they seem willing to try more aromatics, such as sage, rosemary and thyme. Herbs add depth to floral flavors such as elderflower and can add a savory or bitter note to fruity and other sweet flavors. Comparing menus from fourth-quarter 2014 […]