Are We Facing a Restaurant Recession?

The Top 500 restaurant market is in a slump right now. With the lead dining brands’ same-store sales visibly lagging this past second quarter, some analysts and reporters are even using the phrase “restaurant recession.” At reporting chains, year-over-year same-store sales only increased half of a percentage point in quarter two, the slowest growth seen […]

Chicken Flocks to Canada’s Limited-Service Segment

As burger and pizza concepts continue to saturate the limited-service segment, chicken concepts are beginning to take off in Canada. Whereas many chains are expanding menus to suit a variety of tastes, menus at chicken concepts are focused and limited, building a strong sense of specialization and differentiation. Operators are picking particular chicken preparations and […]

Race for Adventurous Consumers Tightens Between Flavor-Forward LSRs, FSRs

There is a real return on investment for any restaurant putting forth the effort to identify the next big ingredient or flavor—and it’s more than just street cred in food magazines and TV segments. Two in five consumers say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers new or innovative flavors. For a […]

What Fast Casual Gets Right About Burger Trends

The “better burger” segment was already on a roll, but economic factors have begun to exert even more pressure on cheeseburger-focused brands in ways that will favor fast casual over quick service. According to data in the 2015 Burger Consumer Trend Report, total burger consumption appears to have peaked and leveled off since 2013, likely […]

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 […]

What Subway’s Sales Decline Says About the Restaurant Industry

Subway’s fall from second-largest restaurant chain to No. 3 in Technomic’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, the prevailing story line in a study full of intriguing developments, reveals a lot more than just how one brand is struggling to hold on to its market share. The chain’s 3.3% decrease in estimated annual sales means about […]

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 […]

Burgers Are Back—Again

When it closed its initial public offering in January, Shake Shack had raised more than $112 million—which MarketWatch calculated as about $150 for each burger it sold last year. The Habit Burger Grill had a similarly spectacular IPO in November, and excitement is building for Smashburger’s expected stock-market debut later this year. Does the outsize […]

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 […]

Pizza Hut Swings for the Fences

Pizza Hut’s unveiling this week of a complete brand overhaul sheds fresh light on the big choices restaurants face in keeping up with changing consumer tastes. The question will be whether it’s an example of “too much, too late” or of reaching beyond what core customers and restaurant staff want or can handle. Bucking a trend […]