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 […]

Bigger Isn’t Always Better as ‘Better’ Grows Bigger in 2014

Goliaths are getting a little unsteady on their feet, and Davids are flexing their muscles. Technomic’s upcoming 2015 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report shows that Subway has been dethroned as the No. 2 chain in America, falling to Starbucks—which grew U.S. sales 8.2% in 2014. Starbucks and other beverage chains capitalized on today’s 24-7 snacking […]

Where Are They Now: Twin Peaks

THEN: In the May 2011 issue of ConcepTrac, Technomic profiled Twin Peaks, a casual-dining concept promoting scenic views of its rustic, mountain lodge-style décor and midriff-bearing Twin Peaks Girls. The chain catered to males not only with its décor and all-female servers but also with its large portions of upscale bar fare and commitment to […]

Happy Hour Can Add Value to Full-Service Occasions

Full-service restaurants are facing increasing competition from fast-casual and fast-food restaurants as Canadians cut back on spending when dining out. Adult beverage menus and bar dining can be a way for full-service restaurants to differentiate themselves and offer value in a more upscale ambiance. A number of operators already offer food and adult beverage drink […]

Retro Cocktail Conundrum

Ahhh…the ’70s. The era of shag-carpeted fern bars where the groovy types slugged back Harvey Wallbangers. Creamy drinks were also in—Mudslides, Pink Ladies, Grasshoppers—as were citrusy Amaretto Sours and Kamikazes. Bearing sometimes outlandish monikers, many of these libations delivered punches of familiar, almost comfort-food flavors such as orange, peach and vanilla (along with heavy cream), […]

Full-Service Restaurants Face Fast-Casual Competition

Canadian full-service restaurants—family-style, traditional casual-dining and upscale casual-dining restaurants—face increasing competition as other parts of the foodservice industry are meeting consumers’ changing needs and expectations. Technomic’s 2015 Canadian Future of FSR: Family & Casual Dining Consumer Trend Report investigates which segments are stealing share of stomach by asking consumers to consider alternatives to full-service occasions. […]

As Costs Rise, Value Key to Driving Traffic

Falling gas prices and recent news of the Canadian Dairy Commission’s move to reduce prices by 1.8% starting March 1 could be good news for restaurant operators struggling with rising commodity prices and a sluggish economy. But with prices on staples like beef and coffee expected to continue to rise this year, Canadian restaurant operators […]

First Impressions Matter at Full-Service Restaurants

It’s no surprise family-style and traditional casual-dining restaurants continue to struggle following the Great Recession. Many factors are working against these segments—a shrinking middle class, increasing interest in the new and different, and competition from the up-and-coming fast-casual segment, to name a few. Due to this onslaught of challenges, full-service restaurants (FSRs) are taking a […]

Microcosm of Challenges in Casual Dining

There is a battle going on between Darden Restaurants and one of the private equity companies with an ownership stake in Darden regarding the make‐up of the current board of directors. As part of this battle, the private equity company, Starboard Value LLC, put out a pretty brutal 300-page assessment of the challenges faced by Olive Garden right now. […]

Liquid Assets: Strong Growth for Adult Beverage-Centered Restaurants

Adult beverages take center stage at a new generation of casual-dining chain restaurants built on the premise that the beer, wine or cocktails menu deserves as much attention as the food menu. These concepts—Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant, Yard House and Eddie Merlot’s among them—also have banked on the belief that today’s increasingly beverage-savvy consumer […]