CHICAGO, March 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Consumers are on the lookout for interesting, craveable and affordable food they can enjoy anytime. With dayparts and mealtimes meshing together, foodservice customers are turning starters into snacks and trendy small plates into full meals.
This new consumer sensibility signals growth avenues for starters, small plates and sides. The flexibility and downsized portion sizes of these items allow them to appeal to a broad base of consumers, suitable for a wide variety of dining occasions.
[View larger INFOGRAPHIC: Spotlight on Starters, Small Plates & Sides]
"There's great opportunity to drive menu interest via starters, small plates and sides because they're so versatile," said Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic, Inc. "These items can deliver add-on sales or can be mixed and matched to function as a meal or a standalone snack. By highlighting the shareable, fun factor of starters, small plates and sides—and using them as platforms for new and unique flavours—operators can promote these offerings as appealing menu differentiators."
To help foodservice executives understand the latest consumer preferences and attitudes regarding these menu offerings, Technomic has released its new Canadian Starters, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trend Report. Key findings include:
- The "shareability" factor matters, especially for starters: 52 percent of consumers say that their starters are shared.
- Small plates fit into myriad meal occasions: Consumers say that most small plates are ordered either as starters (38 percent) or meals (30 percent).
- Sides are very influential in consumers' entree choices: Nearly half of consumers (49 percent) say they are less likely to order an entree if it is served with a side they don't enjoy, and 26 percent choose an entree based on the accompanying side item.
- Consumers want more unique and ethnic flavours: Innovative and globally inspired flavours play a strong role in starter (31 percent) and small-plate (35 percent) purchases.
Technomic's Canadian Starters, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trend Report provides comprehensive research on the latest menu and consumer trends for these menu categories, organized into four major sections:
Menu Insights—uses Technomic's exclusive MenuMonitor data to track menu developments for starters, small plates and side items at Canada's Top 250 limited- and full-service restaurant chains.
Consumer Insights—analyzes consumer behaviour and attitudes toward starters, small plates and side items, based on findings from a nationally representative survey of 1,000 Canadian consumers.
Outlook: Trends to Watch—explores emerging menu, concept and consumer trends that are poised to impact how Canadian restaurant operators are promoting starters, small plates and sides.
Profiles—appendices feature in-depth concept and menu profiles for 10 Canadian restaurant brands that are setting contemporary menu-development trends for starters, small plates or sides.
Technomic publishes a complete library of consumer trend reports. To learn more, please visit Technomic.com or contact one of the individuals listed below. For Technomic updates, please follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or our blog.
Press Inquiries: Darren Tristano, 312-506-3850, or [email protected]
Purchasing Details: Jessica Cravero, 312-506-3849, or [email protected]
Report Details: Kelly Weikel, 312-506-3830, or [email protected]
Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.
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