Consumer Trends

Menus use California as selling point

Currently, 12.4% of all foodservice operations have at least one menu item mentioning "California" in the name of the dish—up from 8% in 2005. The descriptor is most often used in items like chicken, turkey, veggies and burgers. While California is not the first state to have its name attached to a dish (NY Strip Steak is a classic), few evoke the same appeal. Whether it is the influence of Pacific surfing beaches, fresh-from-the-field produce or Alice Waters’ Slow Food movement, California connotes a unique lifestyle.

  • California menu descriptors climbed from 8% in 2005 to 9.4% in 2007. In 2011, 12.4% of all menus mention California at least once
  • Out of 1,545 menus, 94 chains, 55 independents and 39 non-commercial operators (188 total) included one or more California-style dishes
  • Of all its references to food, 30% of the time California is used to describe sandwiches and 11.3% of the time it is used to reference sushi (the ever-famous California Roll)
  • Other California references include California soup, squab, omelets, nachos, vegetables and pizza


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