Italian, American, “healthy”, French bistro and Thai-style offers are the casual dining sector’s most fast-growing trends for the year ahead, according to foodservice analyst Horizons.
Speaking at the Casual Dining Show exhibition at London’s Business Design Centre, Horizons managing director Peter Backman today highlighted his key “trends to watch” in the fast-growing sector.
The above styles were named as the top five to watch, followed by Chinese buffet-styles, the gourmet burger trend, Brazilian food and pub-restaurants.
Backman especially named brands such as Wildwood, Ed’s Easy Diner, Bill’s, Giggling Squid, The Real China, Pesto, Busaba Eathai, Peach Pubs and Bistro Pierre as names to watch in the next 12 months.
He also suggested that Indian food could be in for a revival, as its image perception among consumers changes from that of a non-branded style of food to one in which smaller chain brands can begin to emerge, such as Aagrah and Chennai Dosa.
Horizons data also suggested that, despite the explosion in gourmet burgers that took place in the earlier half of 2013, the area is still expecting to see growth, with now-established brands such as Byron seeing increased competition from new faces such as the Handmade Burger Company.
Companies providing a perceived healthy offer, such as Leon, are also among those tapping into consumers’ increasingly-varied demands, which nowadays are as likely to concern ethical sourcing of food, nutritional information and “being on a diet” as they are the usual issues of “I’m hungry” and “Where can I take my grandma to eat that we will both enjoy?”
Backman also said that emerging brands that were working on developing a sense of theatre in their restaurants – such as Bill’s, which aims to give customers the impression of entering a shop or a market – were also tapping into a key trend and could expect to see growth.
Worth £6.9b, the casual dining market value has almost doubled in the past 10 years, up from £4.72b in 2003 – an increase of 48%.
This tallies with Horizons’ most recently published report on growth, which suggested that casual dining, along with coffee shops – considered separately due to their lower average spend per customer – could expect a boost in sales this year, after a “flat” 2013.
Another recently-released report from the analyst found that Bill’s and Ed’s Easy Diner were the fastest-growing emerging brands, with 21 and 16 new openings respectively in the years 2010-2013.