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Six emerging trends in QSR: Technomic


July 4, 2014
By Canadian Pizza

July 4, 2014, Chicago – Hot peppers and sauces beyond
Sriracha are among emerging trends that may affect the restaurant industry,
says a recent report from Technomic.

July 4, 2014, Chicago – Hot peppers and sauces beyond
Sriracha are among emerging trends that may affect the restaurant industry,
says a recent report from Technomic.

Here's what the foodservice research and consulting firm
sees emerging: 

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    The Next Sriracha:
Thailand's take-the-top-off-your-head chile-and-vinegar condiment is the new
chipotle. Now, customers are seeking newer and even bolder taste sensations
imparted by peppers and sauces from Asia, Latin America and North Africa:
habanero, serrano, harissa, shishito, togarashi, sweet chili, ghost pepper and
spicy mayos and aïolis.

    Barbecue Love:
Authentic regional interpretations of slow-cooked barbecue continue to have
broad appeal, but the latest trend is the application of barbecue sauces and
flavours to handheld offerings like sandwiches and pizza, often with barbecue
pulled pork as the core protein. Even conventional barbecue chains have rolled
out nontraditional barbecue-inspired handhelds, such as the BBQ Chicken Lettuce
Wrap LTO at Lucille's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que.

    Name That Snack: Classic snacks are being
incorporated into novelty foods that capture attention with over-the-top
indulgence, like Subway's Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt, Crumbs Bake Shop's
Girl Scout Cookie cupcakes or Dunkin' Donuts' iced coffee flavours inspired by
Baskin-Robbins ice creams.

    Asian-style Small
Plates:
Asian-influenced bites include Lazy Dog Café's Dim Sum Dumplings and
the Chicken Sriracha Bites served with ranch dressing at bd's Mongolian Grill,
but even fine-dining restaurants are incorporating dim sum-style service.

    Beverages Bubbling
Up:
Specialty teas; lemonade-and-iced-tea blends; restaurant originals such as
housemade sodas; smoothies beyond fruit, featuring surprising ingredients
ranging from kale to peanut butter—all are seeing increases in menu incidence. Fast-casuals lead the way: Pret A Manger added Beet Beautiful Juice with apple,
carrot, beet and ginger; Grand Traverse Pie Company unveiled a Pie Smoothie;
and Panda Express is testing an in-store tea bar. When it comes to adult
beverage trends, hops rule; IPAs and other hoppy craft beers are proliferating
in many incarnations.

    Shrinking Menus:
Across all mealparts, casual-dining chains are reducing menus. Operations can
slow down when menus get too big; a less-is-more approach can create a more
user-friendly customer experience. Will the success of narrowly focused
fast-casuals lead to more menu and operational simplification in full service?