"Seasonal is a term with a clearly defined meaning associated with it; however, a more subjective and emotional aspect of seasonal is becoming equally important in foodservice. As restaurants continue to find a balance of how seasonal fits into their overall menu, consumers are paying closer attention to the details that go beyond the ingredients and flavors. From seasonal presentation to the influence of season-less ingredients, the definition of seasonal is far from static."
- Diana Kelter, Foodservice Analyst
This report will cover the following areas:
- The fine dining gap
- A higher seasonal expectation
For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following restaurant definitions:
- QSRs (quick service restaurants) – Used interchangeably with “fast food,” QSRs specialize in inexpensive, convenient meals. There is no waiter service, and no alcoholic beverages. 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 may or may not offer table service and may or may not serve alcohol. Examples include: Chipotle, Panera Bread, Shake Shack, and Blaze Pizza.
- LSRs (limited service restaurants) – 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. The other category within LSRs (as seen in the market size and forecast) includes snacks and non-alcoholic beverage bars, cafeterias, grills, and grill buffets.
- FSRs (full service restaurants) – 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.
- MMI (Mintel Menu Insights) - 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 1,500 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.