Lucky us! As a partner to some terrific food service establishments, BrandPOP has witnessed exciting industry developments up close. So naturally, as the year draws to a close, we are reflecting on some of the most interesting trends to have emerged and will likely carry on well into the coming year.
No, really. Years ago, you would have been hard pressed to convince me I could get a gourmet dark roast coffee at a place with a drive through and a value menu. But lo and behold, 2014 saw some formidable coffee options enter the QSR marketplace. The overall popularity of barista poured coffee has ushered in an age of explosive coffee shop growth, and the QSR industry is smartly seizing the opportunity to gain loyalty among coffee connoisseurs. Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-A and Jack-in-the Box have all jumped on the gourmet java bandwagon.
It’s all about the apps.
If you aren’t online, you’re offline, it is just that simple. Downloads for apps have increased exponentially since the start of 2014, bringing special offers, convenience, ordering power and mobile payments to the fingertips of young and old alike. Apps are ideal vehicles for loyalty programs and the trackable data potential is a terrific resource for marketers. Domino’s and Starbucks have greatly improved the functionality of their custom apps and there’s no denying that the trend has caught fire in today’s retail environment.
Spice is nice.
Who knew 2014 would have so many people correctly pronouncing Sriracha, much less, reaching for that glowing red sauce on the regular? Subway and Pizza Hut ventured into Sriracha land with limited time offers. Jalapenos also became a mainstream offering in the burger segment. Just goes to show that food operators aren’t afraid to dial up the spice and consumers are more than happy to order something new, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
Consumer’s calls for healthier options on the menu were answered with the introduction of more fresh greens and less additives at many of the most popular chain establishments. A greater awareness of what we are eating and the long-term effects will surely lead to even more innovation in healthy eating at your favorite national restaurants. And now, with the FDA required calorie counts on the menus, there is more impetus for expanding options instead of your waistline!
Those are just a few trends we saw over the past year that we feel will likely make their mark over the long term, contributing to what is an exciting time in the retail industry. We wish our readers, clients and business partners a prosperous and happy 2015!