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Innovation on the Menu - US - September 2016

"Menus are increasingly getting more layered with flavors, ingredients, and preparation methods. Restaurants are facing increased pressure to create a menu that is both comprehensive and digestible for foodies and non-foodies alike."

- Diana Kelter, Foodservice Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Balancing innovative and traditional preparation methods on the menu
  • Waiting in line for a restaurant is not universally accepted across generations

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following restaurant definitions:

  • Quick service restaurants (QSRs) / Fast food – Used interchangeably with “fast food,” QSRs specialize in inexpensive, convenient meals. There is no waiter service, no alcoholic beverages, and low price point. Examples include: McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Pizza Hut.
  • Fast casual restaurants – These establishments are characterized by a higher price point than QSRs though not as high as full service restaurants. Fast casuals do not offer waiter service and may or may not serve alcohol. Examples include: Chipotle, Panera Bread, Shake Shack, and Blaze Pizza.
  • imited service restaurants (LSRs) – These establishments provide food services where customers usually select and order items and pay before dining. Food/drink may be consumed on the premises, offered as carryout, or delivered to the customer’s location. These may also sell alcoholic beverages. LSRs include both QSRs and fast casual restaurants.
  • Full service restaurants (FSRs) – These establishments have waiter/waitress service in which customers order and are served while seated. These may also sell alcoholic beverages and offer carryout services and include the restaurant segments: midscale, casual dining, and fine dining.
  • Mintel Menu Insights (MMI) - MMI is a quarterly census of restaurant brands covering all commercial segments and US census regions/divisions, with trends going back to Q2 2004. MMI tracks more than 30 unique menu item attributes including flavor, preparation (physical and/or cooking), menu type/section, cuisine type, menu claims, etc, grouped into six major categories from macro restaurant, menu, plate, item dish, and beverage to micro ingredient detail.
  • MMI Legacy Data – This data is reflective of the historic MMI database prior to any expansion data being incorporated. This data can be trended back to 2004 and is representative of 580 restaurants and 3,000 menus.
  • MMI Expansion Data - This data is reflective of the MMI expansion that increased restaurant coverage from 580 to 1500 and increased menu collection from 3,000 to 8,000. The expansion data incorporates expanded c-store coverage, including data for hot food, cold prepacked food, breakfast menus, and all self-serve beverage options. Expansion data is not trendable prior to Q1 2015.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Balancing innovative and traditional preparation methods on the menu
            • Figure 1: Preparation method preferences, May 2016
          • Waiting in line for a restaurant is not universally accepted across generations
            • Figure 2: Statement agreement, “It’s okay to wait in line for an extended period of time to eat at a restaurant,” by generation, May 2016
          • The opportunities
            • Millennial foodies crave innovation
              • Figure 3: Statement agreement, “I consider myself a foodie,” by Millennials versus non-Millennials, May 2016
            • International food is more attainable and accessible
              • Figure 4: Interest in international cuisine, by area, May 2016
              • Figure 5: Health preferences on the menu, May 2016
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • A shifting work culture provides new opportunity for restaurants
                • Coffee and cocktails find a unique pairing
                  • Millennials creating a new foodie culture
                  • Market Factors

                    • Consumer confidence and unemployment rates create dining out opportunities
                      • Figure 6: Consumer confidence and unemployment, 2000-*16 (preliminary data available for 2016)
                    • At home food sales neck-and-neck with away from home food sales
                      • Figure 7: Food sales at home and away from home, January 2015-June 2016
                    • Fast casuals face increased competition
                      • Restaurants are increasingly collaborating and sectors are blurring
                        • Figure 8: Handcrafted menu item claim, non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, Q1 2013-16
                      • Millennials represent a growing portion of the population
                        • Figure 9: Share of population, by generation, 2011-21
                    • MMI Analysis – What’s Trending on the Menu?

                      • Preparation methods infer flavor
                        • Seasonal ingredients blending into more complex dishes
                          • Menus no longer one-style-fits-all
                          • Trend – Menu Storytelling

                            • Today: One menu doesn’t fit all
                              • Figure 10: Gluten-free menu claim and ingredient claim, Q1 2013 -16
                              • Figure 11: Gluten-free menus and vegetarian menus, Q1 2013-16
                            • Tomorrow: The digital menu
                            • Trend – Health versus Real Food

                              • Today: Fat is no longer the bad guy
                                • Figure 12: Menu item claims, Q1 2013-Q1 2016
                              • Tomorrow: Health priorities continue to evolve
                              • Trend – Seasonal

                                • Today: Seasonal claims shift from ingredient to dish
                                  • Figure 13: Seasonal claims by ingredients and dishes, Q4 2012-15
                                • Tomorrow: Season-less ingredients grow in popularity
                                • Trend – Preparation Techniques

                                  • Today: Prepared ingredients rise on the menu
                                    • Tomorrow: Niche preparation methods grow in importance
                                    • Trend – Regional Cuisine

                                      • Today and tomorrow: Regional American cuisine finds new territory in foodservice
                                      • Trend – International Flavors

                                        • Today: The influence of Asian cuisine
                                          • Tomorrow: International flavors to watch
                                          • Trend – Alternative Proteins and Ingredients

                                            • Today: Alternative proteins take center stage
                                              • Figure 14: Growth in menu incidence of quinoa, Q1 2015-Q1 2016
                                              • Figure 15: Flower child full menu
                                            • Tomorrow: Repurposing underused ingredients
                                            • Innovative Restaurant Concepts

                                              • Fresh food for the masses
                                                • Fast casual 2.0
                                                  • Elevated breakfast
                                                    • Transformation of simple food
                                                      • Veggie forward
                                                        • The dining experience
                                                          • International fusion
                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                            • Consumers crave detail on the menu
                                                              • Kid-sized portions of entrees appeal to parents and non-parents
                                                                • Italian cuisine is universally loved
                                                                • Dining Out by Restaurant Segment

                                                                  • Millennials dine out frequently, while still being cost sensitive
                                                                    • Figure 16: Restaurant visitation, by restaurant segment, May 2016
                                                                    • Figure 17: Dining out by restaurant segment, by generation, May 2016
                                                                  • LSRs gain more international appeal
                                                                    • Figure 18: Leading European and Asian cuisine interest, by segment, May 2016
                                                                    • Figure 19: BBQ and Southern cuisine interest, by restaurant segment, May 2016
                                                                • Foodie Attitudes

                                                                  • The mainstream appeal of foodie culture
                                                                    • Figure 20: Statement agreement “I consider myself a foodie,” May 2016
                                                                    • Figure 21: Statement agreement “I consider myself a foodie,” by Millennials and non-Millennials, May 2016
                                                                  • Males and females share an affinity for foodie culture
                                                                    • Figure 22: Statement agreement “I consider myself a foodie,” males and females, May 2016
                                                                  • Hispanic Millennials driving foodie culture
                                                                    • Figure 23: Statement agreement “I consider myself a foodie,” by Hispanic Millennials, May 2016
                                                                • Non-Foodie Preferences

                                                                  • Non-foodies value Mexican and Italian cuisine options
                                                                    • Figure 24: Interest in Mexican and Italian cuisine, by foodie Millennials and non-foodie Millennials, May 2016
                                                                    • Figure 25: Interest in preparation methods, by foodie Millennials and non-foodie Millennials, May 2016
                                                                  • Smoked food appeals to foodies and non-foodies alike
                                                                    • Figure 26: Interest in preparation methods, by foodies aged 40 and older and non-foodies aged 40 and older May 2016
                                                                    • Figure 27: Interest in ordering a dish I can’t make at home, by foodie Millennials and non-foodie Millennials, May 2016
                                                                    • Figure 28: Statement agreement, any agree, interest in flavors and dining out expectations, non-foodies aged 40 and older, May 2016
                                                                • Consumer Segmentation – Types of Foodie

                                                                  • The cluster process
                                                                      • Figure 29: Foodie consumer segments, May 2016
                                                                    • Group 1: Home Cook Foodie
                                                                      • Group 2: Dining Out Foodie
                                                                        • Group 3: Anti-Foodie
                                                                          • Group 4: Dietary Aware Foodie
                                                                            • Group 5: Indulgent and Adventurous Foodie
                                                                            • International Food Preferences

                                                                              • Cross-generation appeal toward new cuisines
                                                                                • Figure 30: Statement agreement “I’m open to trying cuisines I have not had before,” by generation, May 2016
                                                                              • International and regional cuisine gain more mainstream appeal
                                                                                • Figure 31: Interest in European cuisine, May 2016
                                                                                • Figure 32: Interest in Any Asian cuisine, May 2016
                                                                                • Figure 33: Interest in any American cuisine, May 2016
                                                                                • Figure 34: Interest in international cuisine, by area, May 2016
                                                                              • The Northeast and West Coast have a stronger interest in international cuisine
                                                                                • Figure 35: Interest in international cuisine, by region, May 2016
                                                                                • Figure 36: Interest in American cuisine, by region, May 2016
                                                                            • Menu Appeal

                                                                              • The pre-restaurant menu screen important for consumers
                                                                                • Figure 37: Statement agreement, “It’s important for me to look at a menu before deciding on a restaurant,” by age, May 2016
                                                                              • Healthy preparation methods more favorable than fried preparation
                                                                                • Figure 38: Preparation method preferences, May 2016
                                                                                • Figure 39: Interest in preparation methods by foodie Millennials and non-foodie Millennials, May 2016
                                                                              • Health claims grow in importance for consumers
                                                                                • Figure 40: Health preferences on the menu, May 2016
                                                                                • Figure 41: Statement agreement “I enjoy ordering dishes meant to be shared,” May 2016
                                                                                • Figure 42: Statement agreement, “I wish more restaurants would offer kid-sized portions of their regular menu items instead of a separate kids’ menu,” by parents versus non-parents, May 2016
                                                                            • Menu Trial Motivators

                                                                              • Consumers crave flavor details on the menu
                                                                                • Figure 43: Statement agreement, flavors on the menu, May 2016
                                                                              • Seasonal, fresh, and exclusiveness drive menu appeal
                                                                                • Figure 44: Menu trial drivers, May 2016
                                                                                • Figure 45: Menu trial driver, “Trying an unusual ingredient in a familiar dish,” by foodies and non-foodies aged 40 and older, May 2016
                                                                              • Millennials will wait for food
                                                                                • Figure 46: Statement agreement, “It’s okay to wait in line for an extended period of time to eat at a restaurant,” by generation, May 2016
                                                                            • The Online Consumer

                                                                              • Experience is all – even digital experiences
                                                                                  • Figure 47: Statement agreement, “I like to share my restaurant experiences online,” by generation, May 2016
                                                                                • Wealthier and urban consumers share the most online
                                                                                  • Figure 48: Statement agreement “I like to share my restaurant experiences online,” by income, May 2016
                                                                                  • Figure 49: Statement agreement “I enjoy reading food blogs” and “I like to share my restaurant experiences online,” by area, May 2016
                                                                                  • Figure 50: Statement agreement, “I enjoy reading food blogs,” by parents versus non-parents
                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                                    • Mintel Menu Insights
                                                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                                        • Appendix – Cluster Analysis

                                                                                          • Hispanic Population Data

                                                                                              • Figure 51: Generations by Hispanic origin, 2016

                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                          To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                                          Innovation on the Menu - US - September 2016

                                                                                          £3,174.67 (Excl.Tax)