Consumer Trends

It's the season of cheap eats, Caesar Salad and limoncello

The latest consumer trend data released by Yelp reveals an uptick in these restaurant searches and several others since last year.
deck near beach
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 The summer of 2024 is going down as a “no-spend” summer where meal deals, freebies and beating the heat top consumers’ wish lists.

Yelp released its latest Trend Tracker Monday, which reveals changes in searches year-over-year for the month of June. Caesar Salad, limoncello and soccer bars also rose to the top.

With fast food chains including Burger King, McDonald’s and Taco Bell competing for consumers’ shrinking wallets, value meals are in high demand. In fact, searches for the phrase “value meal” are up 240% since 2023. But “meal deal” brings in even higher numbers, increasing 307%, while “cheap food” rose 118%.

Caesar Salad was invented 100 years ago, and the celebration of its centennial is garnering some attention online. Searches for the iconic salad itself have increased 57%. The original recipe calls for romaine lettuce, Parmesan, croutons and a creamy dressing that includes anchovies and raw egg, but many variations have evolved. One of the leading ones is the Chicken Caesar Wrap, up 80% since last June.

The Aperol Spritz has been the drink of summer for several seasons, but this year, limoncello is taking over. Searches for limoncello spritz rose 127%, with limoncello on its own up 135%. The Italian lemon liqueur adds bright citrus notes and a touch of sweetness to Prosecco-based spritzes.

Whether or not a soccer bar serves limoncello or spritzes, the destination has become a popular one this summer. The convergence of Copa America, National Women’s Soccer League, Euro 2024 and the upcoming Olympics is propelling fans into places with TVs tuned into the matches. Searches for “watch soccer” have increased 350%, with “sports bar soccer,” “soccer bar” and “soccer pub” up 147%, 121% and 108% respectively.

Not to mention that air-conditioned soccer bars provide relief from the heat, as high temperatures continue to trend upward. Air conditioning services are getting a lot of traction online, to the tune of a 386% increase. But a good number of consumers are also looking for economical or free ways to cool off, seeking out public pools (up 138%) and swimming holes (up 121%).

Speaking of penny-pinching, searches for free activities are on the rise by 103%. The “no-spend” challenge is trending on TikTok, motivating followers to search out freebies and bargains. Searches for public libraries are up 73%, beaches up 58%, free live music up 30% and resale clothing up 19%.

Yelp identifies trends within searches by measuring the frequency of the phrases mentioned per million searches on the platform. Trend statistics are noted as year-over-year comparisons.

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