2015 in Review: Restaurant News & Trends

BlueCart had a great year in 2015 as more and more restaurants and vendors signed up to use our platform to place and fulfill orders, drastically improving their procurement processes. As a result, we want to review the biggest news and trends we saw changing the food and beverage industry this year.

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2015 was a strange year for the beverage industry. On one hand you had a HUGE beer merger as Anheuser-Busch is slated (it is not yet approved) to acquire SABMiller for a frosty $105 billion. The merger will strengthen the David vs. Goliath battle for market share as smaller, local, and craft breweries will have a host of challenges to compete against the behemoth megabeer producer. On the other hand, you now have wine makers voluntarily putting caloric information on their wine bottles. But the big story coming out of the beverage industry was the proliferation of craft breweries.

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Craft Breweries Taps its Full Potential

Craft breweries grew at a historic rate during 2015 as 4,144 new breweries popped up throughout the United States. What makes this significant rise more impressive? 2015 produced the most breweries in a single year (the previous record was in 1873 with 1,131).

The Brewers Association researched and determined the following

  • 22.3 millions barrels of beer were produced in 2015.

  • 15 states now have more than 100 breweries.

  • The top states for producing beer are Pennsylvania, California, and Colorado.

  • On average, two breweries open per day. Cheers to that!

Some other big news items were:

  • Cold brew coffee mentions went haywire (mentions went up 148% in May). Baristas are experimenting with the flavor options that come along with iced coffee.

  • Bubble Tea Shop visits rose 198% with February being the biggest contributor.

  • Technology is being implemented in coffee shops to allow full customization for the customer.

If 2015 is any indication, 2016 should be a big year for the the beverage industry. Look for technology to become a big part in the alcohol space and for BlueCart to be a major player.

The Most Important Meal of the Day

Breakfast has been highlighted throughout 2015. In fact, Hunter Public Relations released the results of a survey asking individuals the top three food stories, revealing breakfast being served all day was the biggest story of 2015. Fast food chains' breakfast were highlighted throughout the year, most notably, McDonald's who gave in to the masses and began serving breakfast all day. The new strategy is showing promise of customer acquisition as one third of consumers who ordered the all day breakfast in during non-traditional hours had never before eaten at McDonald's.

alt Noting the popularity of McDonald's all-day offerings, shrewd restaurants revisited their own strategies in regard to breakfast, many offering all-day breakfast to entice customers. Restaurants are doubling down on breakfast mania by offering traditional alcoholic drinks such as mimosas and bloody mary's to accompany breakfast dishes.

Ethnic Cuisine Makes an Impact

Two questions for our readers. 1. Guess what city had more than 250 Michelin-starred restaurants? 2. Which cuisine did 50% of Americans eat at least once a month?

Think you know the answers?

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The answer to number one is....... Tokyo.

Asian cuisine had a far reaching impact in 2015. One reason for this is the increased use of tea in food dishes. Consumers are more health conscious then ever, and restaurants are piggybacking off studies that show tea has significant health benefits. One type of tea that has burst on the scene is Matcha, which provides a great dose of antioxidants, a refreshing flavor, and a dose of energy that rivals caffeine.

Koda, a head chef in China told CNN that tea is " incredibly versatile and can be used across savory and sweet dishes. "I use it to smoke a free range duck, while a subtle tea can even accompany foie gras in the form of a jelly." With the traction Asian cuisine gained in 2015, it's hard to believe that Asian centric food will go away in 2016.

Asian food wasn't the only foreign cuisine that stood out in 2015, which leads us to our next answer. 50% of adults ate Mexican cuisine at least once a week.

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This results shouldn't surprise you too much. Some Mexican specialities have roots in American cuisine. For those readers who hate numbers, I would look away. The following data was found in a poll conducted by National Restaurant Association.

  • 62% of individuals who live in the western United States said they eat Mexican cuisine at least once a month.

  • In contrast, only 36% individuals in the Northeast eat Mexican cuisine at least once of month.

  • 83% of families with children said they ate Mexican cuisine occasionally, and 63% of families said they eat Mexican cuisine frequently.

The most telling statistic of the NRA study is that 43% of people who responded that they enjoy foods that are linked to their families history. America is known as a melting pot, and we expect 2016 to be another great year for international cuisine.

Those are the big stories and trends we noticed for 2015. Tweet at us or visit our Facebook page if you think we missed a story. And remember restaurants can use BlueCart for one click ordering.