Tap water is now one of the fastest growing beverages ordered at U.S. restaurants. Conversely, revenue-generating beverages have been declining since 2006. According to market research firm NDP Group, who published the report, Beverages at Foodservice: Satisfying Our Thirst for Beverages:
- American consumers have ordered 2.7 billion more servings of tap water since 2006
- Restaurants have seen a six percent drop in total beverage servings excluding tap water
- Free refills were one of the reasons consumers gave for ordering tap water instead of other beverages
- Some respondents stated the cost of carbonated soft drinks and other non-growth beverages as the reason for choosing tap water
“Although the economy and high unemployment are factors in tap water’s upswing and beverage servings declines, some beverages, like carbonated soft drinks were declining prior to the recession,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst and author of the report. “A key learning from this report is that much of the declines in beverage servings are tied to the price/value relationship the consumer perceives.”
"Not all beverages are on the decline,” added Riggs. “New flavors, addressing taste interests, preparing fresh/freshly made, and creating new versions of existing beverages are factors in the beverages that are growing."