The Top Foodservice Trends to Watch for in 2019
By Dwayne Reno
Image: Pixabay, Pexel
I would like to start this blog by wishing a happy new year to our readers, thank you all for supporting the BBA Social Chat Blog. As our business grows we promise to continue to bring you insightful content pertaining to the foodservice/food industries here in Canada and aboard. We also have a few new things we are working on this year so please stay tuned. Since this is the first blog entry of the 2019 calendar year we’ll ring it in as we always do, with our top foodservice trends to watch for.
Food Trend: Is the general direction in which ideas surrounding food are developing or changing.
Some trends are here to stay, while others are here for a moment.
The BBA team has carefully reviewed our 2018 Foodservice E-news submissions to identify the growing foodservice trends we feel will continue to dominate in 2019. Our list is comprised of press releases and articles submitted by foodservice operators and other food business from Canada, the U.S. and the rest of the world.
As you may already know some of our predictions are returning trends while others are brand spanking new so let’s jump right into our top foodservice trends to watch for in 2019.
Fast Food Wars
The big news of 2018, turned out to be the battle for fast food supremacy, waged by the top fast-food operators for consumer dollars. The fast food wars have also helped to solidify the return of chain operators to foodservice dominance, even if it’s for the savings and not the love of the food. Last year many fast-food chains reintroduce dollar/value menus with minor tweaks to keep them profitable.
Taco Bell started 2018 off with a promise to finish 2018 with 20 items under $1 for consumers to enjoy, the brand has since reached that target and continues to innovate with their Cravings Value menu. The re-imagined value menu now includes $5 value boxes as well as $1 fan favourites, HERE. Dunkin' Donuts (now know as Dunkin') also launched their value menu in 2018 as well. The new menu includes offerings ranging in price from $2 - $3 and $5, HERE.
In January 2019, Subway Canada, also introduced their own value offerings after a study commissioned by the sandwich giant found that Canadians are hangry for great tasting, high-quality food that #wontbreakthebank, HERE.
Consumers in Canada and the U.S. have been loving these deals as an NPD Group study recently found. The study stated that 72 per cent of consumers who purchased from value menus also purchased a regular priced menu item, HERE. The proof is in the value and we predict that the current fast food wars will continue as fast food deals continue to fly off the grill and out of the fryer in 2019.
Automation promises to change the way humans live and interact with each other. Many industries have undergone changes due to automation but none more evident than the foodservices industry. Many foodservice operators have seen the benefits of automation and are adapting it as a way to reduce costs and attract a millennial consumer base. Consumers now have the option of mobile order and pay as well as self-ordering kiosk which allows in-store customers to avoid the cashier.
Foodservice automation was given a huge push forward when Caliburger announced in January 2018 that it would start taking face-based payments at some of their U.S. restaurants. Also, in late 2017, Cali Group (Caliburger’s parent company) launched face based loyalty login on its large-format self-ordering kiosks. Customers log in to their loyalty accounts at the self-ordering kiosks without needing to type in any identifying information. In addition to accessing their account information by looking at the camera on the kiosk in-store, customers can now pay for their order by simply looking into the camera as well, HERE.
Another early adopter of automation is Yum Brands, the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and others. The Chinese arm of Yum Brands, Yum China, released a press release late last year stating that the brand will continue to automate KFC stores in China to enhance the customer experience, drive growth and optimize operational efficiency, HERE.
Furthermore, in the U.S. Pizza Hut teamed up with Toyota to unveil the first ever pizza making pickup truck. The new full-size pickup truck was built to make pizza on the go. The Tundra PIE Pro presents an untapped opportunity for Pizza Hut to expand their delivery radius without compromising the quality of their pizza, HERE.
Another industry leader, Dominoes also announced in 2018 that it has moved to the second round of its self-driving delivery vehicle testing, a partnership with Ford motors. The testing took place in Miami and went on for two months, leveraging what the company learnt from the first round of testing, HERE.
With so many large foodservice brands at the helm, it's no surprise that foodservice automation is here to stay and we predict it will continue throughout 2019.
Acquisitions and Global Expansions
Acquisitions and global expansions are the two new strategies many fast food brands are using to increase brand presences and reach new audiences. Many foodservice chains are busy trying to find new ways to grow profits and since the backbone of foodservice is its employees, the major chains have set their sites on buying out smaller competitors and expanding their brand into global markets as a way to increase profits.
In June of 2018, beloved chicken chain, Chick-fil-A, announced plans to open their first Canadian location in 2019. The popular American chain stated that they have chosen Toronto (The Six) to be their first launch site with other locations to come in the future, HERE. Also, Canada’s favourite coffee and donuts chain announced that they will be opening 1500 Tim Hortons restaurants in China, over the next 10 years, HERE.
Now on the acquisition side of the coin 2018 saw many huge mergers between leading foodservice brands and their competitors. One of the biggest ones announced was the merger between JAB (parent company of Panera Bread) and Pret A Manager, a leading company in the ready-to-eat food market in the UK. Pret, operators 530 stores worldwide in places such as the U.S., China and France, generating revenues of £879 million, HERE.
We also saw many Canadian mergers as well. MYT Food Group acquired Timothy's World Coffee, Mmmuffins, SweetFrog Premium Frozen Yogurt and South St. Burger a gourmet burger franchise in 2018. All these acquisitions came on the heel of MYT Food Group's deal in 2017, with invescor Restaurant Group to form a leading restaurant franchisor in Canada. With so many large brands merging into super brands, we predict that in 2019 we'll see many more foodservice mergers and global expansion plans come to light.
Dining Out at Home
Consumers are changing the way they eat and where they are choosing to do so. With the rise in popularity of food delivery services here in Toronto and the rest of Canada, it seems there is no end to the chooses now available to Torontonians during breakfast, lunch and dinner. I remember when I first moved to this city in 1991, the only food options available for delivery was pizza or Chinese food. For those who do not live in Toronto, for quite some time the restaurant industry was the only place where you could find variety as we did not have any street food vendors other than hot dog carts. This has since changed with the introduction of food trucks which are still operating under major regulations.
In 2018, many of the major food delivery services announced huge delivery deals with popular fast food chains. Chipotle announced that it has seen a 667 per cent increase in weekly delivery orders since initiating a food delivery partnership with Doordash. Also, Jack in the Box announced a partnership with Postmates that would help make Jack in the Box available from more than 1,000 restaurants in 28 of Postmates' U.S. markets, Here. This is a great look for consumers who will now have access to much more food options when they dine at home in 2019. We predict that this very popular food trend will continue to grow in 2019.
New Food Trends
Marijuana and Food Pairings
Last year we saw the Canadian government legalize the sale of marijuana, ending decades of bad press and prohibition. Even before legalization, we saw companies queuing up for the rights to sell the product in a raw or as a processed product. Constellation (the parent company of Corona/Modelo) purchased Canopy Growth back in Oct 2018 for $191 million sending the stock price sky high (no pun intended). While edibles are not a part of the government's legalization deal we predict that in 2019, food companies will find many innovative ways to incorporate Marijuana into their products which will then be sold to foodservice operators; how about some CBD infused beer with your meal?
We also expect that this food trend will likely takeoff once the Canadian government includes edibles as part of the legalization plan helping to further popularize marijuana with foodservice operators.
In early 2018, China announced it would prohibit the import of 24 varieties of solid waste and recyclables, including types of plastic and unsorted paper. As we speak much of the recyclable waste we produce here in Canada and the U.S. are headed straight for landfills. As a way to combat the issue, fast food chains who, together produce huge amounts of recyclable waste have decided to kick their use of single-use plastics. The list of names includes A&W, Red Lobster, Restaurants Unlimited; the parent company of Prime Pubs, Landing, Swiss Chalet, Harvey's, East Side Mario's and many more. Additionally, Vancouver became the first in Canada to prohibit plastic straws and polystyrene foam cups and take-out containers with the adoption of an early zero waste initiative – the Single-Use Item Reduction Strategy, HERE.
We predict that in 2019 more chain operators will remove plastic straws from their inventory as it helps to promote the business as Eco-friendly to a much more conscious consumer.
Veggie Meat Offerings on the Rise
In 2018, the vegetarian movement was given a huge push by fast-food operators who have started to adopt veggie options on their menus. Things really got going when A&W Food Services became the first national burger chain in Canada to add the plant-based burger to its menu. A few weeks later the company announced that they would have to temporarily stop severing the Beyond Meat Burger because all locations were sold out, HERE. The Canadian fast-food chain has since resumed serving the popular menu item to the delight of Canadian.
Other popular chains who started serving the Beyond Meat Burger in 2018, includes TGI Fridays and White Castle. Also, a study released in June 2018, by Innova Market Insight stated that “Interest in plant-based eating is clearly reflected in developments in the meat substitutes market, where global sales are set to grow to US$4.2bn by 2022. The range of ingredients used for meat substitutes includes vegetables and grains, as well as traditional sources such as soy and specialist manufactured brands such as Quorn and Valess., HERE”
Furthermore, Taco Bell recently announced that it would be testing its first, dedicated vegetarian menu in stores, as well as new featured vegetarian items for fans to enjoy, HERE. With consumer becoming more interested in eating less meat or completely removing it from their diets we are predicting that more and more foodservice operators will start to add more innovative veggie meat options to their menu as a way to drive foot traffic and increase profits.
Until next time your customers want to know why they should spend money at your restaurant, bar or cafe so give them the goods!
Dwayne Reno CEO & Founder
Social Chat Blog
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