Segment focus evolving as competition expands

Segment focus evolving as competition expands
Gone are the days of “my operation falls into this segment, so we must compete against others in the same segment”, as cross segment competition heats up in 2015. Segment specific operations are taking a new look at the competitive landscape as consumers seek new outlets to fulfill their foodservice needs. Responding to consumers changing views on how and where they purchase prepared foods will be top of mind in all segments for 2015.
QSRQSR - QSR is one segment feeling the squeeze from retail foodservice and Fast Casual. As consumers have increasing options for quick food that is perceived as higher quality, with more options and at times better for you, QSR will look for ways to differentiate itself. QSR’s investing in innovation from menu items and LTO’s to mobile serving, taking their products to consumers much like the independent foodtrucks in order to garner both trial and brand awareness.

Focus - QSR’s will upscale their menu to compete with both Fast Casual and C-stores. Providing healthier/fresher items as consumers grow more health conscious and are increasingly concerned about how their food is prepared. Add a twist of new to a tried and true menu item as consumers are looking for ways to try new flavors and ingredients no matter what segment. Another focus will be on quality as well as speed of service to the consumer.

Fast CasualFast Casual - The current “talk” of the foodservice industry is around soaring profits, same store sales and segment growth in 2014. Fast casual restaurants seemed to be giving consumers just what they wanted, high quality food and beverage offerings, value, speed of service and variety all wrapped up in one neat package. In 2015, this segment will continue to expand as pizza makes a strong showing, along with hybrid options like Asian inspired tacos.

Focus - Unit growth and operational endeavors are a hot topic among fast casual chains. As segment and unit expansion continues, taking operations to the next level without the losing the quality and service.

Casual & Family Dining - Industry experts have reported no good news in the last year for this segment. 2015 will prove to be a year of reinvention for the casual/family dining segment, with tried-and-true concepts testing ways in which to again become relevant in consumers eyes with ever expanding dining options. Relevancy will begin with unit updates and continue with menu innovation to peak the interest of customers to come back, including sharable options with lower price points and competitive happy hour options.

Focus - Creating an atmosphere that relies on consumers needs to reconnect and be social will be a tipping point for family and casual dining restaurants in 2015. Allowing consumers a destination where they can gather, sit and enjoy at a moderate price point with a focus on being fun and social can create resurgence for this segment.

C-storeC-store - With declining sales in other areas, the convenience market will be turning to foodservice in 2015 to increase their revenue and same store sales. Freshly prepared food items will increase foot traffic that pay at the pump sales have decreased in recent years. These food offerings provide consumers with a one-stop option for at home meals as well including take out pizza for the whole family, sandwiches for lunch and more that are made to order. Custom beverages, including blended beverages will play a larger roll in the snacking daypart giving consumers a perceived healthier alternative to drive through snacks.

Focus - Driving in-store customer traffic to increase sales through unique offerings in both food and beverage to compete with other segments for consumer spend. Growing food and beverage programs beyond traditional lunchtime stop-in, to areas such as dinner for family meals and breakfast.

Schools, C&U and B&ISchools, C&U and B&I - Onsite foodservice operators are finding new and innovative ways to meet customer demands for healthier options and restaurant quality foods on-site. This in the wake of declining onsite food sales in many of the noncommercial segments, like schools. Mobile carts and kiosks have been “popping” up around campuses and business, allowing operators to easily meet customers where they are for short periods of time, and when there is the most traffic, then close or move to another location quickly and easily. Labor management is key for schools in particular, including finding ways to speed up preparation time and cooking time, while still meeting new federal guidelines for meals. Equipment that is multi-use with greater cooking speeds and capacity, and preset cooking functions will allow schools to meet their changing needs and compete with other customer options.

Focus - Increasing onsite purchase of meals and snacks by appealing to consumer trends like health and fresh ingredients with new menu items. Meeting customers where they are through mobile dining options to increase revenue and reduce offsite dining. Reduce overall labor and prep times through investments in multiuse kitchen equipment.

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