Consumers’ changing tastes and wallet watching have led to a 4 percent decline in beverage orders at restaurants over the last five years, according to new data from market researcher The NPD Group.
Though diners order a beverage during 70 percent of restaurant visits, selections such as soft drinks and milk have particularly lost steam, declining by 4 billion servings since 2010, NPD Group says.
Despite overall declines, drinks like iced and specialty coffee are bucking the trend, according to NPD Group data, growing largely out of customers’ loyalty to these beverages and their willingness to go out of their way to purchase them. These beverages are also more likely than others to be purchased as snacks, the researcher notes.
“Despite recent declines in beverage servings, the fact is that beverages are still an important part of foodservice visits—whether by themselves or as part of a meal,” says Warren Solochek, president of NPD Group’s Foodservice Practice. “In order to drive beverage orders, foodservice operators will need to understand consumers’ changing tastes and offer an array of quality beverage choices, including healthy options.”