Jill Failla

Jill Failla is an Associate Editor of Consumer Research at Technomic Inc. in Chicago. She currently provides menu analysis and trend forecasts for the firm’s Consumer Trend Reports series.

Delivery Service Trials

Leading limited-service restaurant chains are trialing or launching new delivery service options in droves, often from a tech-based platform or through a third-party partnership, in order to boost sales and grow this convenience-fueled service. In the last year alone, Dunkin’ Donuts, Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Starbucks trialed delivery service, and Panera Bread Company, Burger King […]

Mashups Disrupt Menus

Mashup food items are currently at the center of menu innovation, especially at the QSR level. These mashups cause quite a stir in the press and are often backed by large publicity and multimedia campaigns. Most are limited-time offers or test items but some are launched as permanent menu items. They are meant to garner […]

Alcohol-Infused Desserts Elevate Full-Service Menus

Leading full-service restaurants, particularly casual-dining concepts, are kicking up their dessert menus a notch with boozy sweets. While niche independent dessert concepts serving alcohol-infused cupcakes or doughnuts have been popping up in cities over the past two years, this trend is now making its way onto top chain menus. From baked goods to pudding, Top […]

Bowling for Dollars: Bowls Are Here to Stay on LSR Menus

Bowls are proving to be a menu force that’s here to stay at limited-service restaurants, alongside menu staples like sandwiches and salads. The bowl format became a mainstream hit around 2003 when Chipotle debuted its Burrito Bowl. KFC followed suit by launching its KFC Famous Bowls in 2006. Since then, the bowl category has grown […]

Rotisserie Chicken Will Reach Beyond Retailers to Restaurants

Delectably self-basting chicken that’s slow roasted on a spit has been hot in the retail segment for many years, but it’s now becoming a restaurant darling, as well. Save for Boston Market, fried chicken is the dominant poultry of the major chain players. However, there is an abundance of emerging chains focused on rotisserie chicken, […]

Food Talks for Chicago Ideas Week

The fourth annual Chicago Ideas Week conference on food, held at the Cadillac Palace Theatre on October 15, was called Food: Path to Your Plate. As the name suggests, the conference focused on the story of menu ingredients. Some of the key takeaways included the importance of farmer-chef relationships; biodiversity; GMO (genetically modified organism) labeling; […]

Upscale Sausages Span the Nation, Starting with Chicago

At 5:45 a.m. on Wednesday, October 1, I settled into a folding chair on a Chicago sidewalk, waiting for a hot-dog shop to open. Twenty-five people were lined up ahead of me. We devoted foodies had assembled not just for any ordinary dog but for a specialty sausage (or five) from the famed Hot Doug’s during […]

Total Food Strategy Proliferates Among Top 500 Chains

More and more Top 500 restaurants are looking to frozen consumer packaged goods (CPGs) in retail to boost revenue and profit. While certain brands such as California Pizza Kitchen and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro have been offering frozen CPGs successfully for years, Chili’s Grill & Bar just entered the retail space this summer. In June, […]

Fast-Casual Seafood: Where Quality Must Meet Affordability

Summer is the season for lobster—lobster rolls in particular. Several fast-casual restaurants have been trying their hand at these premium sandwiches over the past few years, and, now, fast-casual concepts dedicated to seafood and lobster have even been appearing in major metropolitan areas. Are fast-casual restaurants serving up seafood the next big thing? This June, […]

The Rise of Ramen

Late last year, Technomic released its 10 food-trend forecasts for 2014; starches were set to make a comeback, and ramen was called out as a key ingredient to watch. This spring, we’ve seen our prediction come to fruition throughout the U.S., in terms of ramen-focused chains, emerging concepts and independents. According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor data, […]