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Innovation and evolution are keys to Canadian FSR success

FSRs

After regaining some post-recession footing, Canadian full-service restaurants (FSRs) are expected to continue on an upward path.

By Technomic Inc.

The latest research comes from Technomic’s Future of FSR: Family & Casual Dining Consumer Trend Report. Differentiating tactics, such as brand refreshes and menu overhauls delivering smaller but higher-quality food and beverage programs look to drive sales, which are set to increase nearly 4 per cent in 2015.

But the threat of the growing fast-casual segment continues to loom for FSRs, forcing brands to innovate — both on menu and in unit — so they may deliver an experience worth consumers’ time and money.

“Millennials in particular are increasingly looking for a unique experience worthy of sharing, and FSR chains must intrigue, excite and battle sameness in order to attract these key users of foodservice and compete against independents and small chains,” observes Kelly Weikel, Technomic’s director of consumer insights. “Innovative dishes and bar programs, ethnic flavours, and menu items with a local or regional spin can help FSRs stand out.”

[View larger INFOGRAPHIC: Spotlight on Full-Service Restaurants]

In addition to tracking consumers’ consumption behaviour for both family-style and casual-dining concepts, the Future of FSR: Family & Casual Dining Consumer Trend Report compiles menu, industry and competitive data and spotlights emerging concepts.

Among the findings:

  • 55 per cent of consumers dine at family-style restaurants, 54 per cent dine at traditional casual-dining and 25 per cent dine at an upscale casual-dining restaurant at least once a month.
  • Reasonable cost, taste of food and good overall experience are loyalty drivers when choosing which full-service restaurant consumers visit most often.
  • The fastest-growing beverage menu items in the past two years at family-style restaurants are cappuccino, espresso and mocktails. For adult beverage there has been a rise in hard cider, scotch and gin.