Consumer Trends

  • Two hands holding up gift cards from Cheesecake Factory
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    Courtesy of The Cheesecake Factory
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    Restaurant gift card sales rose during Thanksgiving holiday weekend

    Guests spent 7.3% more on restaurant gift cards during the Thanksgiving weekend compared to the same period in 2022, per Paytronix data. 

    By Dec. 4, 2023
  • Happy friends cheering for their team while watching sports game on TV in a bar.
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    Drazen Zigic via Getty Images
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    Make your restaurant the entertainment go-to place with DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS

    Ensure your restaurant is set up to keep your guests coming back week after week, season after season.

    Dec. 4, 2023
  • A photograph of chefs in a kitchen. Explore the Trendline
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    sam edwards via Getty Images
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    Restaurant Dive Outlook for 2023

    Restaurants across categories are hungry for growth this year, with many embracing franchising. However, confidence in the ghost kitchen model is waning.

    By Restaurant Dive staff
  • Influencer Kerwin Frost poses with McDonald's Happy Meal
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    Courtesy of McDonald's
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    McDonald’s reinvents McNugget Buddies for streetwear-minded adults

    For its latest nostalgia play, the chain teamed with multifaceted artist and influencer Kerwin Frost to put a new spin on the iconic collectibles.

    By Chris Kelly • Nov. 30, 2023
  • An image of a waitress serving three people at a table.
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    Hispanolistic via Getty Images
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    3 ways restaurants can drive traffic in 2024

    Operators are reaching a price hike ceiling as diners worry about their spending, but deep discounts can hurt margins, making it tricky to offer meaningful value, Deutsche Bank analyst Lauren Silberman said at RFDC.

    By Nov. 28, 2023
  • A photo of meatloaf from Travel Center's of America's dinner menu.
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    Permission granted by TravelCenters of America
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    Can c-stores become dinner destinations?

    While the industry is better known for beverages and snacks, a growing emphasis on meals can open big opportunities for retailers with the right offers.

    By Jessica Loder • Nov. 28, 2023
  • Four Starbucks cold coffees topped with holiday themed cold foams.
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    Courtesy of Starbucks
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    Starbucks adds 4 holiday cold foam flavors

    Starbucks’ new holiday cold foam could help drive year-round consumption of cold coffee, even as customization strains store-level labor.

    By Updated Nov. 29, 2023
  • A smiling female barista hands two warm takeout coffee cups to a waiting customer.
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    Maksym Belchenko via Getty Images
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    Coffee, tea QSRs report traffic bump from return to office

    Category operators opened 3,500 new units as of March 2023 compared to March 2022 following a spike in consumer demand, according to Circana data.

    By Nov. 27, 2023
  • New York City waiter prepares dining room
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    Spencer Platt via Getty Images
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    The public dislikes tip pools, Pew finds

    Tip pools have proved a controversial wage-and-hour topic, especially when back- and front-of-house staff are both included.

    By Ryan Golden • Nov. 17, 2023
  • Unrecognizable black father carrying Thanksgiving turkey while serving it for his family in dining room.
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    skynesher via Getty Images
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    Report: 64% of diners to order holiday items from restaurants

    Thirty-seven percent of consumers say they would rather order their entire holiday meal from a restaurant, according to a HungerRush survey. 

    By Nov. 14, 2023
  • Male in apron pouring oil from canister
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    iStockphoto/ shih-weh

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    Sponsored by Catania Oils

    Combating record olive oil prices: Exploring alternatives

    Olive oil is a staple in most restaurant kitchens, beloved for its flavor and versatility. But right now, the olive oil market is in chaos

    Nov. 6, 2023
  • Starbucks all-day breakfast items, like sous vide egg bites, drive nearly half the chain's food sales in North America.
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    Courtesy of Starbucks
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    Starbucks to expand snacks, baked goods as food sales near $6B

    About half of those sales are driven by the company’s all-day breakfast items, including sous vide egg bites, breakfast sandwiches and breakfast wraps.

    By Nov. 3, 2023
  • A promotional image for Wendy's 2-for-$3 breakfast bundles.
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    Courtesy of Wendy's
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    Wendy’s breakfast discounts, late-night traffic buoy sales

    The chain has maintained strong profitability on morning daypart promotions, said CFO Gunther Plosch, and late-night sales have increased by double digits year over year. 

    By Nov. 2, 2023
  • A photo of Rutter's loaded potato pizza.
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    Permission granted by Rutter's
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    Limited-time offers have come roaring back to life. Here’s how c-stores are capitalizing.

    LTOs are gaining steam and have nearly returned to pre-pandemic levels as retailers and restaurants look to spur traffic with exciting new dishes.

    By Christine Blank • Oct. 23, 2023
  • Pizza Hut new store concept retrieved by Marketing Dive on April 5, 2021
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    Courtesy of Pizza Hut
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    Pizza Hut is keeping thousands of restaurants open until midnight

    The pizza giant is hoping to capture sales to younger customers through its late-night delivery and carryout offerings across much of its U.S. system. 

    By Updated Oct. 20, 2023
  • Wendy's global CMO Carl Loredo speaks during an Advertising Week New York session on Oct. 16, 2023
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    Courtesy of AWNewYork
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    What Wendy’s global CMO Carl Loredo learned from Taylor Swift

    The executive explained how fandom, value and nostalgia come together for the QSR chain during an Advertising Week New York discussion.

    By Chris Kelly • Oct. 18, 2023
  • A diverse audience of smiling and laughing businesspeople are shown sitting in on a conference keynote. The right side of the speaker's back is visible to the camera.
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    Cecilie_Arcurs via Getty Images
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    9 restaurant industry events to attend in 2024

    The coming year is packed with conferences focused on hot-button restaurant issues ranging from franchise operations to generative artificial intelligence. 

    By Oct. 13, 2023
  • Sliders featuring Beyond Chicken in various preparations with a flag of the company logo in a bun sit on a counter.
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    Courtesy of Beyond Meat
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    Are diners souring on plant-based meat analogues at restaurants?

    Despite high-profile debuts, a number of QSRs quickly dropped plant-based menu items. Preliminary research on plant-based spending in grocery stores may offer clues for the category’s long-term viability in restaurants.

    By Kristine Sherred • Oct. 11, 2023
  • Caribou Coffee's 2023 pumpkin LTOs.
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    Courtesy of Caribou Coffee
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    How pumpkin spice became the unshakeable king of coffee LTOs

    Developing the autumnal flavor for cold drinks, which are surging in popularity, is a technical feat. But recent innovations may secure the flavor’s dominance for years to come, experts say.

    By Oct. 10, 2023
  • A beige building with gold signage that says "Nusr-Et"
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    Leon Neal via Getty Images
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    How Salt Bae created a one-of-a-kind dining experience

    After opening 10 steakhouses within the last three years, Nusr-Et plans to expand its Salt Bae Burger brand in airports and add dance lounges to several flagship locations.

    By Oct. 5, 2023
  • Promotional images of phone screens showing Sweetgreen's app.
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    Courtesy of Sweetgreen
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    Sweetgreen adds in-store loyalty offer

    This rewards expansion could grow frequency among Sweetgreen customers, 50% of whom order on-premise.

    By Sept. 26, 2023
  • A stack of uncooked Impossible Burger patties separated by wax paper on a yellow background
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    Courtesy of Impossible Foods
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    Slumping demand forces 2 California plant-based startups to close

    Hooray Foods and Nowadays, which both had restaurant clients, join a growing list of companies in the category that have gone out of business or scaled back their growth plans.

    By Elizabeth Flood • Sept. 25, 2023
  • An image of a building with Cracker Barrel branding
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    Courtesy of Cracker Barrel
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    Cracker Barrel debuts rewards program to drive sales, traffic

    The chain hopes that the platform, which launched nationwide Wednesday, can improve performance after retail and restaurant sales missed Q4 expectations. 

    By Sept. 21, 2023
  • Half of the image is a orange background with the other half depicting a person on bike, sipping a coffee.
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    Courtesy of Peet's Coffee
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    Peet’s Coffee brews large integrated campaign with Mischief

    Hold the foam: Consumers’ love of simple, quality coffee sits at the center of what the brand says is its largest campaign to date.

    By Sara Karlovitch • Sept. 18, 2023
  • A Pilot foodservice employee.
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    Courtesy of Pilot Travel Centers
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    Diners are happy with c-store food — but retailers have work to do, report says

    Operators need to guard against complacency, as the number of customers “extremely satisfied” with c-store foodservice has fallen from 2022, Intouch Insight said.

    By Jessica Loder • Sept. 11, 2023
  • A stock image of a consumer examining a receipt.
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    Patpitchaya via Getty Images
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    Restaurants should expect a modest negative impact on sales with student loan repayments

    Starbucks, Chipotle and Shake Shack could see same-store sales growth slow as high-income consumers may cut spending, said BTIG.

    By Sept. 11, 2023