CHICAGO — It’s little surprise to hear, but limited-service chains (LSRs) are leading the commercial foodservice industry, according to data from the Chicago-based research firm Technomic, which showed LSRs account for 73.3 per cent or $19.6 billion of the top 200 chains sales.
The firm’s “Top 200 Canadian Chain Restaurant Report” indicated LSRs — where patrons generally order and pay at the counter — also made up 85.5 per cent of the industry in 2011.“The key to the growth within LSRs is differentiation,” says Darren Tristano, executive vice-president of Technomic. “Most of the ‘hot concepts’ have broad consumer appeal. Consumers are seeking locations that offer something unique, which is often delivered through fresh, better quality ingredients, a contemporary decor and ambiance and interactive service formats.”
“The Canadian Future of LSR: Fast-Food & Fast-Casual Restaurant Consumer Trend Report,” also found LSR breakfast entrées grew by 17 per cent on fast-food menus and 13 per cent on fast-casual menus between 2009 and 2011. Moreover, healthy kids meals and natural, premium, or gluten-free options, are driving menu development, while chefs are being inspired by street food as customers crave new flavours in small handheld portions.