Consumer Trends


  • McDonald's Q1 Earnings Up On Higher Menu Prices, Overseas Growth
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    Fast food is too expensive, says a majority of Americans

    Sixty-two percent of U.S. consumers surveyed by LendingTree said they are eating fast food less due to rising prices. 

    By May 28, 2024
  • People work at a restaurant at Chelsea Market in Manhattan on February 02, 2024 in New York City.
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    Spencer Platt via Getty Images
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    4 restaurant industry forecasts from the NRA Show

    Gen Z’s demand for photogenic beverages and frustration over financing struggles loomed large over the event as operators strategized how to solve consumer pullback.

    By May 23, 2024
  • An image of a waitress serving three people at a table. Explore the Trendline
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    Hispanolistic via Getty Images
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    Trendline

    Top 5 stories from Restaurant Dive

    Check out a selection of articles about some of the biggest trends — from personalized loyalty programs to a growing catering boom — shaping the restaurant industry during the first half of 2024.

    By Restaurant Dive staff
  • Three fast food beverages stand in line.
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    Aneurin Canham-Clyne/Restaurant Dive
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    Inside CosMc’s: Slow drive-thru service may undercut customization’s perks

    McDonald’s spinoff brand, which targets Gen Z with highly caffeinated drinks and snacks, is a “learning lab” that needs work to compete with legacy QSRs.

    By May 22, 2024
  • BurgerFi franchisee in Alpharetta, Georgia
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    Permission granted by BurgerFi
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    BurgerFi’s sales fell 10% in Q1

    The chain attributed some of its difficulties to a consumer pullback, but said weather accounted for its exceptionally poor performance.

    By May 15, 2024
  • People communing at dining table
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    Permission granted by SupHerb Farms
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    Sponsored by SupHerb Farms®

    The global flavor craze

    Unlock the latest global flavor trends that will attract each generation to your operation.

    By SupHerb Farms • May 13, 2024
  • Two people at an event, one of them is using a Square kiosk to pay for something.
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    Permission granted by Square
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    Sponsored by Square

    Get the most out of the National Restaurant Association Show with Square

    Whether you’re attending in person or tuning in from home, growth is on the agenda this year. Take a glimpse at what Square will cover.

    May 13, 2024
  • A photo of a variety of food on a wooden table on trays and in baskets and bowls.
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    Permission granted by ezCater
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    Operators predict continued catering boom

    Return-to-office is increasing demand for business catering as employers use meal plans to draw workers in-person, according to a survey from ezCater. 

    By May 9, 2024
  • An image of a blue sign with "IHOP" words.
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    Scott Olson via Getty Images
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    Dine’s sales sour on virtual brand closures, slow traffic

    IHOP and Applebee’s promotions and LTOs weren’t enough to offset a dip in consumer spending during Q1.

    By May 8, 2024
  • A view of a Wendy's restaurant on May 12, 2021 in Pinole, California.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    Wendy’s credits loyalty program, mobile app investments for customer growth

    “The experience we deliver to our customers is the most impactful driver of our business,” CEO Kirk Tanner said.

    By Bryan Wassel • May 7, 2024
  • A closeup of beverage cups featuring the logo of Starbucks Coffee.
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    Stephen Chernin via Getty Images
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    Starbucks’ late-night delivery pilot ‘doubled our business,’ CEO says

    A third-party partner prepared Starbucks orders for delivery offsite between the hours of 5 p.m. and 5 a.m., and the coffee giant aims to make a $2 billion business out of this model over the next five years.

    By May 7, 2024
  • Steak on a plate.
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    Courtesy of Sweetgreen
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    Sweetgreen targets dinner customers with steak

    The salad chain is following up the successful rollout of protein plates last year with steak, which accounted for nearly one-fifth of dinner orders in a pilot. 

    By May 7, 2024
  • A cashier making an order on a Square kiosk.
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    Permission granted by Square
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    Sponsored by Square

    The top restaurant trends in 2024

    Restaurant owners crave tools that provide better insights that they can use to connect with their customers, integrate with other solutions, and receive real-time information about the health of their business.

    By Natalie Zunker • May 6, 2024
  • The outside of a McDonald's restaurant
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    Brandon Bell via Getty Images
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    McDonald’s credits speed, personalization for high satisfaction

    The fast food chain is attracting consumers with customized messaging and cementing their loyalty with swift and consistent service.

    By Bryan Wassel • May 2, 2024
  • An exterior image of a Shake Shack restaurant
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    Brandon Bell via Getty Images
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    Shake Shack’s kiosks are now its largest ordering channel

    The chain added upselling options to its kiosks and made the channel’s customization experience more similar to online ordering.

    By May 2, 2024
  • A promotional image of Subway's footlong chocolate chip cookies.
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    Courtesy of Subway
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    Back to Basics: What builds a good snacking menu?

    Diner demand for specific snack items depends on their mood, time of day and ease of travel, experts said, opening up an array of traffic-boosting innovation opportunities for restaurants. 

    By Danielle McLean • May 1, 2024
  • The outside of a Starbucks store
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    Spencer Platt via Getty Images
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    Starbucks’ mobile ordering is so popular, it’s slowing some orders down

    Starbucks will roll out new procedures that will help workers reduce wait times, CEO Laxman Narasimhan said Tuesday.

    By Bryan Wassel • May 1, 2024
  • A photo of a sign in the window of a Foxtrot site. It says "Thanks a lot! As of today, we are closing for the final time. Thank you for the time we had together."
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    Permission granted by Camille Gramont
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    Column

    Pardon the Disruption: What the sudden loss of Foxtrot and Dom’s means for retail

    Their demise underscores just how difficult it is to bring new, innovative ideas to life in the shadow of large-scale competitors and the grinding need for efficiency.

    By Jeff Wells • April 30, 2024
  • Four different juices from Clean Juice
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    Permission granted by Clean Juice
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    Brix Holdings to buy Clean Juice

    The Christian juice chain, which lost dozens of franchise locations over changes to its business model, sold itself for undisclosed terms.

    By April 29, 2024
  • A photograph of packaging and menu items for IHOP/Virtual Dining Concepts' new NASCAR themed brand
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    Courtesy of Virtual Dining Concepts
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    IHOP adds 2 new Virtual Dining Concept brands, expands another

    IHOP is focusing on virtual brands as a solution to traffic problems in non-peak dayparts and thinks two sports-themed brands could lift sales.

    By April 25, 2024
  • Wendy's
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    Thai Phi Le/Restaurant Dive
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    Why dynamic pricing sours restaurant dining experiences

    Nearly two-thirds of consumers had a negative reaction to dynamic pricing, a HungerRush survey found.

    By Kristen Doerer • April 17, 2024
  • Wow Bao's Dim Sum Palace virtual restaurant on Roblox
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    Permission granted by Wow Bao
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    Wow Bao links restaurant rewards to Roblox in platform-first integration

    Metaverse hype may have dissipated, but brands remain interested in leveraging games like Roblox to connect with Gen Z and Gen Alpha.

    By Peter Adams • April 11, 2024
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    Scott Olson via Getty Images
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    Fast food is getting faster, data shows

    Limited-service chains maintained an edge in traffic growth relative to casual dining, likely due to continued improvements in throughput, Placer.ai reported.

    By April 10, 2024
  • A stock image of a consumer examining a receipt.
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    Patpitchaya via Getty Images
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    Dynamic pricing firm Juicer snags $5.3M in funding

    Restaurant pricing tools may help operators boost sales in lagging dayparts, but consumer sensitivity about these applications is still powerful.

    By April 10, 2024
  • A photo of a breakfast sandwich from Cliff's.
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    Permission granted by Cliff's
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    4 hot c-store flavor trends for summer

    Sweet and spicy pairings, tropical fruits and international influences will see a surge as the weather heats up, experts say.

    By Christine Blank • April 9, 2024
  • A promotional image for KFC's $4.99 two piece meal deal.
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    Courtesy of KFC
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    KFC adds $4.99 meal deal through year’s end

    As restaurants across the board face dwindling traffic, the chicken chain is leaning on aggressive discounting to draw customers.

    By April 8, 2024