United States

Food and beverage industry trends


The overall food and beverage (F&B) industry is on the uptrend, with projected 2013 restaurant sales almost doubling since 2000. The growth of sales in the restaurant industry is indicative of changing consumer patterns, as more people are dining out versus eating at home. It is anticipated that this shifting consumer pattern will affect restaurants located within gaming facilities, as more gamers include eating out as part of their gaming experience.

Some key areas that gaming property owners should keep in mind when evaluating and planning restaurant operations for the coming year are restaurant formats, technology and menu trends. Below is a quick summary of the trends in each specific area.

Restaurant Format
The restaurant industry is segregated into the following restaurant types and subcategories:

  • Full-service restaurants (FSRs), characterized by table service
    • Casual dining
    • Family dining
    • Fine dining
  • Quick-service restaurants (QSRs), characterized by customers generally ordering and paying for food prior to eating:
    • Buffets
    • Fast food
  • Fast-casual restaurant, characterized by higher-quality, more expensive food than is typically served at a QSR, but without table service, as at an FSR.

According to research from the National Restaurant Association (NRA), the fast-casual restaurant sector is expected to grow the most in the next year, at a compound growth rate of 8 percent annually through 2016. Industry analysts attribute the popularity of this type of restaurant to their delivery of high-quality food, combined with good value within a relaxed environment. Panera Bread and Pei Wei are examples of fast-casual restaurants.

Another trend that is exponentially on the rise in restaurants is the use of technology to increase efficiency and enhance customer satisfaction. Common restaurant technologies include:

  • Tablets or hand-held devices
  • Reservation programs
  • Timing systems to monitor meal progress
  • Table seating and management programs
  • Touch-screen ordering programs
  • Social media as an inexpensive source of marketing

Menu Trends
The industry is moving toward a diverse mix of menu options that are popular and profitable. Some restaurants update menu items seasonally, while some high-end restaurants create new menu items for daily and weekly specials. The National Restaurant Association's Restaurant Trends Survey, 2012 identified the following “hot trends” for 2013 for full-service restaurants:

Full Service

Restaurant trends for 2013

1. Locally sourced meats and seafood

11. Farm and estate-branded items

2. Locally grown produce

12. Non-wheat noodles and pasta (e.g., quinoa, rice, buckwheat)

3. Healthful kid's meals

13. Nontraditional fish (e.g. Arctic char, barramundi)

4. Environmental sustainability as a culinary theme

14. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (e.g., Asian-flavored syrups, chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)

5. Children's nutrition as culinary theme

15. Fruit or vegetable children's side items

6. New cuts of meat (e.g., Denver steak, pork flat iron)

16. Health and nutrition as culinary theme

7. Hyperlocal sourcing (e.g., restaurant gardens)

17. Half portions or smaller portions for a smaller price

8. Gluten-free cuisine

18. House-made and artisan ice cream

9. Sustainable seafood

19. Black and forbidden rice

10. Whole-grain items in kid's meals

20. Food trucks

Moving Forward
Industry trends and benchmarks are crucial to monitoring and enhancing a gaming facility's food and beverage operations. We recommend that property owners continue to monitor industry research, particularly local and targeted demographic research as applicable to each property.

For information on McGladrey's customized food and beverage operational reviews and revenue optimization assessments, please contact jill.linden@mcgladrey.com.