The Lynx Purchasing Casual Dining Report (Spring 2014) found 14% of consumers are most influenced by the availability of vegetarian options when deciding where to eat out followed by calorie information (4%); reduced fat choices (9%); and low-carb dishes (4%).
Independent pubs and larger operators, such as the Orchid Group, have added gluten-free dishes or sections to their menus and foodservice suppliers are developing more products to fit the bill. Vegetarian options are increasingly chosen by meat-eaters watching calories and national pizza delivery company Pizza GoGo has found success with a new quorn option.
The first week of the new menu saw 11% of online orders featuring a quorn option such as BBQ quorn; quorn feast; and quorn spicy wings.
Traditional dishes, premium options and customisation
Despite a demand for healthy options, pizza and beef and chicken burgers top the list of menu choices in casual dining, according to the Lynx report. Pub classics steak and fish and chips follow with roast or grilled chicken and chicken curry finishing the list. Specialist cuisines on the up include Chinese, Mediterannean, Caribbean, Mexican and Thai.
Premium dishes are still gaining traction with 13% having tried gourmet versions of food such as hot dogs and another 46% would like the opportunity.
Also following the trend for premiumisation, 61% would like to see more variations on chips available, such as courgette fries and sweet potato fries and 49% wanted ‘build your own’ options, which would allow them to customise their own dishes.
Almost half of consumers say they choose dishes they couldn’t make at home when eating out and 56% claimed that provenance and ingredients are important to them.