Americans still rely heavily on foodservice for lunch, according to Technomic’s Lunch Consumer Trend Report. Although diners have cut back on away-from-home lunch purchases to save money, a good number still buy midday meals—particularly at fast-casual concepts.
- 59% of consumers purchase lunch at least once a week, while 35% do so at least twice a week. Limited time and convenience are the main motivators
- Consumers were most likely to have eaten lunch on a recent visit to a fast-casual restaurant: 45% say they had lunch, 41% had dinner and 7% visited for breakfast, according to Technomic’s Understanding Fast-Casual Restaurants and Their Customers
- Lunch patrons are commonly in search of healthful foods that are designated by calorie counts or other relevant information on the menu. Choices that come in at no more than 600 calories are favorites
- Globally inspired lunch items continue to grow in scope. Handheld Mexican and Asian foods are popular at chains, and many operators are offering familiar applications—such as salads or sandwiches—prepared with an ethnic twist
- Convenience is key. Grab-and-go is expanding at limited service restaurants, with coffee chains, dessert cafes and other non-traditional lunch venues getting into the act. And more full-service concepts are promoting “express lunches” that get the guest in and out in 15 minutes
- Combo meals that offer value are still a draw—especially among males. Of 1,500 people surveyed, 53% of men and 45% of women favor traditional combo meals that include an entrée, side and beverage