2017 may disappoint full service restaurants after fruitful 2016

May 17 2017

Full service restaurants may have an underwhelming year in 2017 after enjoying a bumper 2016, according to a new report outlining the challenges and opportunities facing the restaurant industry.

According to the 2017 Top 500 Report from food industry insight experts Technomic, the restaurant industry fared relatively well in 2016 overall.

However, full service has experienced some ups and downs, with annual sales growth dipping to 1.4 per cent and unit growth remaining flat.

On the bright side, the report noted key growth in sales of Asian food, up 4.3 per cent in 2016 compared to the year prior. Sports bars also enjoyed a 3.9 per cent sales increase, as did steakhouses (2.9 per cent).

Within full service and contemporary casual-dining chains, sales grew by four per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively. Even fine dining saw sales growth rise almost five per cent, due to an affluent customer base, as well as the quality of offerings and the appeal this segment has with today’s consumer.

Launching the report, Darren Tristano, chief insights officer at Winsight’s - Technomic’s parent company, said: “Full service chains continue to face strong competition from full service independents and regional chain restaurants, which provide a more local experience.

“Today’s consumer looks for a more contemporary atmosphere, a strong adult beverage program and a menu of food and beverages that caters to local preferences.

“Operators also face stiff competition from limited service restaurants that offer value, convenience, speed and customization.”

A report from the Conference Board of Canada in March claimed that Canadian restaurants would need to combat appeal of home dining in 2017, with increased competition and weaker consumer spending expected to limit revenue growth for Canadian restaurants to 3.9 per cent this year.

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