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Foodservice Industry News: Weekly Headlines

20 Dec

Happy Friday! From here on out, each and every Friday, CHD Expert will summarize the week’s most interesting and insightful news in the foodservice industry. Our goal is to share stories that catch our attention and have our readers share their thoughts on them.

So, here are some of stories that caught our eye this week (Dec 16-20):

Jersey Mike’s Raises Money for Nonprofit – On Monday, Jersey Mike’s donated $305,000 to Wreaths Across America (WAA), a nonprofit organization that coordinates wreath laying ceremonies across the country.

From October 1st through November 11th, Jersey Mike’s locations throughout the U.S. collected donations for the WAA. The company also donated $1 for every social action sharing the WAA story on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

PepsiCo Experimenting with Snack FoodsPepsiCo Inc., which owns Cheetos, Fritos, and Tostitos, have been experimenting with new restaurant dishes featuring their snacks. This comes after the company’s big hit, teaming up with Taco Bell to create the Doritos Locos Tacos.

After partnering with Buffalo Wild Wings, PepsiCo said it would work with the chain to create a “unique menu offering.” Pizza Hut, which is owned by Yum Brands (who also owns Taco Bell), has been also looking for new ways to use Frito-Lay on its menu.

Texas Pete Debuts New Sriracha SauceTW Garner Food Company, the maker of Texas Pete sauces, announced the launch of its newest addition, CHA! by Texas Pete sriracha sauce.

“CHA! by Texas Pete® was designed specifically for enthusiasts who are always chasing the next great taste,” says Steve DeCorte, general manager of sales at TW Garner Food Company. “The growth of sriracha sauce over the past few years has been fast-paced and we anticipate that CHA! by Texas Pete® will deliver the bold, balanced flavors we’re known for to a whole new audience.”

Pizza Hut Dominates Google Searches – On Wednesday, Google announced its 13th annual Zeitgeist results, showing what users searched for the most during the year and Pizza Hut was once again the top searched restaurant brand, followed by Domino’s.

Papa John’s, who was third on the list in 2012, did not make the list for 2013.

Check back here each and every Friday to get a roundup of the week’s biggest restaurant and foodservice news! Don’t forget to share your thoughts, views, and opinions in the comment section below. 


2014 Foodservice Industry Trends

6 Dec

The foodservice industry is all about trends. Trends can have a significant impact on a foodservice business. Today’s consumers are more interested than ever in the foods they eat, where they eat, and where their food comes from. True trends, as opposed to fads, shows the need in our society and how foodservice industries meet those demands.

Here are 3  foodservice industry trends you should look out for in 2014:

Restaurants In Retail  Shops

How would you like a glass of wine as you look around for a new pair of shoes? Well, the next big thing in food could be fashion. There is a growing trend of retail stores in the US developing their own themed restaurants within their store. A perfect example of this is Tommy Bahama’s New York flagship restaurant that sells rib-eyes and fish tacos. Another great example of this is David Burke’s Burke in the Box and Forty Carrots at Bloomingdales.

So what’s the value of putting a restaurant into a store?  Restaurateurs want to keep shoppers in their stores for as long as they can and giving shoppers the ability to drink and eat can increases the time they spend in the store. The more time spent in the store; the more likely a purchase will be made.

More Restaurants Using Tablets

 Restaurants are embracing technology and the use of tablets is just another example of that. Earlier this week Applebee’s announced plans to install 100,000 tablets at every table in each of its 1,860 restaurants in the United States. These tablets will allow Applebee’s customers the ability to order food, pay their bill, and play games as they wait for their food. Back in September, Chili’s announced they would also begin installing tablets on each table of its 823 restaurants by March 2014.

While this move may seem like the beginning of the end for servers, don’t be alarmed. The restaurant business is about speed and service. Restaurants make more money when their servers are quick, and they get their customers out the door happy. The devices are for interactive purposes and convenience, targeting groups and families who wouldn’t mind paying $0.99 to play games. In fact, services could expect to see an increase in tips as the system is implemented to increase the spending per table and customers will benefit from better service as servers wont have many tasks on their plate.

Goodbye Trans Fats

Say goodbye to margarine because artificial trans fat in food will soon be a thing of the past. Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its preliminary determination saying trans fat is not “generally recognized as safe” for food. If this preliminary determination is finalized, hydrogenated oils (a component of margarine) will become food additives that could not be used in food without approval. Any food with unapproved additive cannot legally be sold in the U.S.

If you are looking to find accurate and up-to-date data on full service restaurants, retail stores, or information on restaurants that offer a specific cuisine, CHD Expert can help you locate those businesses and get you contact information for key decision makers. If you would like more information on how to access CHD Expert’s database, please contact Catherine Kearns via email at or call (312) 768-6916.

The Southwest Foodservice Expo: Why we are looking forward to going to Texas

28 May

Much more than a tradeshow, the Southwest Foodservice Expo is the largest foodservice event of its kind in the region. With local foodservice sales projected to reach $55 billion in 2013, this foodservice expo provides an excellent opportunity to network with the decision makers of the Southwest foodservice industry, as well as check out the latest and greatest in the market.

Held in the Dallas Convention Center on June 23th and 24th, the Southwest Foodservice Expo will host culinary showcases with the likes of chef Robert Irvine, host of Food Network’s Restaurant:Impossible and chef Tyler Stone. There will also be chef competitions, an Education Idea Center, and the opportunity to check out the most innovative products and services in the country.

One of the things that we find the most interesting about the Southwest Foodservice Expo is its Experts Forum. These one-on-one, or small group chats with some of the foodservice industry leading experts, will provide restauanteurs tips on how to make their restaurants more profitable.  Another interesting happening this year is the Northwest Wine Expo, co-located with the Expo, which will showcase a diversity of wines, trends and leading voices from the rapidly growing wine region.

And as every year, the event not to be missed during the Expo will be the Texas Restaurant Association’s President’s Gala. In the iconic celebration, the the who’s who of the Texas foodservice industry celebrates its yearly achievements and induct Texas restaurateurs into the Hall of Honor, the TRA’s most prestigious award.

For easy navigation of the Southwest Foodservice Expo, download their free app and for more details, visit their website.

Restaurant Industry Trends: What we expect to see at the 2013 NRA Show

12 Apr

The 2013 National Restaurant Association Show is a little over a month away, and like many foodservice companies, we are busy preparing our teams, products, and marketing strategies for the NRA Show.

As we mentioned in last weeks post “CHD Expert Announces New Menu Type Segmentation Filters as part of Their Foodservice Database Web Based Query Tool, Easy2FIND,” we’ve rolled out new functions and features for one of our most popular foodservice marketing products, Easy2FIND, and we look forward to promoting this at the NRA Show. We’ve been busy sharing this new update with existing clients and spreading the word to prospects, as this new segmentation filter allows for a much deeper look at menu types. If you are interested in finding out about this product you can Click here for a free demo and 7-day trial.

In addition, we’ve also been working on a specific trade show strategy, and how we are going to “attack” the show so that we can make the most out of it. While we aren’t going to share the exact details of our plan, we will share with you is that we’ve been keeping our eye on some key restaurant industry trends. Outlining these trends allows us to prioritize who and what we want to see first at the show.

Here are three restaurant industry trends that we think are going to generate a lot of noise at the show:

  1. Heirloom “Anything” – The hottest new word on menus
  2. Communicating gluten free options
  3. Chicken is the new beef

Now, let’s break each one down from a high level.

Heirloom. Wikipedia defines heirloom as, “A horticultural variety that has survived for several generations…” We’ve always seen heirloom tomatoes at a farmers market., but now heirloom tomatoes have almost gone mainstream, and can be found in you local grocery store.

Today, we are not only seeing heirloom tomatoes, but we are also seeing a variety of other heirloom vegetables, like beans, potatoes, spinach, which have now popped up in farmers markets, grocery stores and on popular restaurant menus. Heirloom is one of the newest trends in the culinary world and we have been seeing appear on restaurant menus on a regular basis. People are becoming more and more conscious about what they are eating and where it comes from. So, the heirloom trends falls in line with the healthy, farm to table option that people are chasing after. What menus have you seen the word, “heirloom” on lately?

Communicating gluten free options. More and more people are finding out that they are allergic to different types of foods.  Today, most of us know someone who has a gluten allergy and as a result, has to keep a strict gluten free diet. While this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about gluten free options, we are now starting to restaurants start to add a symbol next to menu items that do not contain any gluten. This is only one of the many ways we are seeing the restaurant industry actively communicate to the gluten free community.

For example, did you know that the popular fast food chain Wendy’s has a separate gluten free menu which identifies gluten free items. Check it out! It’s just another example on how restaurants introducing gluten free options as more and more people learn that they have the allergy.

We believe that more and more restaurants are going to start coming out with gluten free options and products. We wouldn’t be surprised if we were to see a whole restaurant open that was dedicated to the gluten free community.  Would you dine at a gluten free restaurant?

Chicken is the new Beef.  It’s no surprise that popular fast food restaurants have been on a rampage to clean up their “unhealthy” image. Ever since the movie, Super Size Me, restaurants like McDonalds have been aggressively trying to improve their image and incorporate more healthy menu options. But now more than ever, we see that chicken sandwiches are becoming a popular alternative to hamburgers. Does this indicate the people are trying to moving toward perceived healthier options? We think so.

Here are two stories made headlines this past week on the Huffington Post: Chicken Passes Burgers on QSR Menus and McDonald’s Chicken McWrap To Be Added To Permanent Menu. Both call out the new chicken trend at fast food restaurants, which looks like it’s consumer driven, as people look for healthier options.

We hope that this has been insightful and even helpful as we approach the biggest show in foodservice. To learn more about CHD Expert, please feel free to check out our website or email us at

The Pizza Industry in Las Vegas: Independent Pizza Restaurants Out Number Large Chains Two to One

14 Mar

Author: Nicolas Watson

In 2012, Nevada achieved the second highest growth in number of restaurants with a 3.2% increase across the U.S, compared to a 1.3% growth nationwide, and pizza and pasta restaurants in the US continue to grow in numbers, showing 4,409 closings and 5,830 openings in 2012. With the 2013 Las Vegas Pizza Expo right around the corner, leading food service data provider CHD Expert share their findings that Pizza and Pasta restaurants in Las Vegas hold the second position in most popular menu type across the city.

Chicago-based foodservice database, marketing, and analytics firm, CHD Expert reports that the number of pizza, pasta and Italian restaurants have increased by 1.4% across the nation in 2012. Pizza has become an increasingly popular menu item making up 12.7% of the restaurant industry. The city of Las Vegas hosts 360 pizzerias and make up 12.9% of total number of restaurants in the city. Only ‘varied menu type’ has a larger presence in Las Vegas, with the Pizza & Pasta menu type leading other popular menu types such as Mexican, Burgers and Sandwiches. Only 2.8% of the pizzerias in Las Vegas are full service restaurants, which is lower than the national average of 3.7 percent, whereas limited service restaurants account for 97.2 percent of the Las Vegas pizza market.

The pizza landscape in Las Vegas is as diverse as the pizza pies themselves. 59.9% of pizzerias in Las Vegas are independently owned, with each pizza brand having less than 9 total units operating nationwide. Large pizzeria chains are restaurants with over 500 total units in operation nationwide, like Papa Johns, Pizza Hut and Dominos, making up to 28.6 percent of the total pizzerias in Las Vegas. Las Vegas has more independently owned pizzerias than the nation’s average of 54%.

While new pizzerias are opening regularly in Las Vegas, CHD Expert’s findings also indicate that many pizzerias are able to sustain business and maintain operations that last years beyond the initial grand opening. 51.5% of Las Vegas pizzerias in operation have been serving up their slices for over five years. Approximately 21 percent of Las Vegas pizzerias are still aiming to surpass the ever so important two years in business milestone.

The majority of the pizza restaurants carry an average check of only $7 to $10, which drives some lower revenues for these restaurants. 56% of the pizzeria units in Las Vegas bring in less than $500,000 in sales per year. Only one pizzeria in Las Vegas grossed over 2.5 million dollars in revenue in 2012. Even with slim revenues the pizza pie has become a staple in many Americans’ diets.

“Pizza has established itself as one of the top food choices among Americans looking to dine out or order in“ stated Brad Bloom, Director of Sales for CHD Expert North America. “With the 2013 Pizza Expo quickly approaching, we wanted to evaluate the pizza industry in the host city of Las Vegas and share our findings with all of the operators, distributors and vendors who will be in attendance. I am excited to be attending the show, and look forward to networking with other foodservice colleagues, hopefully over a slice of pepperoni.”

To obtain detailed information on any foodservice market or to schedule a time to meet during the 2013 Las Vegas Pizza Expo please contact Brad Bloom at

Trade Show Round Up! CRFA and The International Restaurant And Food Service Show of New York

11 Mar

Author: Nicolas Watson

While we are only 11 days into the month of March, there have been a TON of trade shows which we’ve attended! Two of the major shows that we attended at the beginning of the month were the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Show in Toronto as well as the International Restaurant & Food Service Show of New York City. Both shows had a lot of great things to offer the foodservice community and we were so glad to be there representing CHD Expert North America.

The International Restaurant & Food Service Show of New York  had a lot of great information to offer foodservice industry professionals, as we are constantly looking for new ideas on how to grow business. This show offered a stage full of insightful education to innovative new foods and drinks; new product options and idea generating special events. We met so many great people during the show and can’t wait to reconnect with everyone now that we’ve all had a chance to catch up from being at the show. Don’t you just love the feeling of walking into a show like this? We do!

International Restaurant & Foodservice Show New York

International Restaurant & Foodservice Show New York

The other show we attended last week was the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice show which is the largest foodservice show in Canada! As you know we’ve been releasing a lot of new data on the Canadian foodservice market landscape, which is one of the many reasons why it’s important to us to attend the show in Toronto. The CRFA Show attracts over 10,000 foodservice industry professionals and you get to be face to face with exhibitors showcasing all their latest products. From new and innovative trends in foodservice to the latest in energy efficient equipment, foodservice industry professionals come to the show to learn, explore and educate themselves on the latest in Canada’s foodservice industry. We had a wonderful time meeting everyone at our booth and on the trade show floor.

CRFA Show 2013

CRFA Show 2013

Next stop: The Pizza Expo in Las Vegas! Are you going? In preparation for the show we are releasing some great new data about the 2013 Pizza Industry. We hope to see you there!

Restaurant Industry Net Growth In CA, TX and NY, while The Fourth Most Populous State, FL Continues To Struggle

20 Feb
By Nicolas Watson

New data available from leading foodservice database and analytics company, CHD Expert reports for the first time in three years a net increase in restaurant openings throughout the United States. This trend is consistent in California, Texas and New York, which indicates that as the economy begins to recover more people are willing to dine out.

Chicago-based foodservice database, marketing, and analytics firm, CHD Expert announces the overall US restaurant industry is beginning to recover and grow, while sharing data that focuses on the four largest states in the restaurant industry and how each states’ data compare and contrast.

According to one of CHD Expert’s latest reports, 2012 Foodservice Operator Update: A Positive Change in a Challenging Economy, 2012 has yielded a 0.3 percent positive net change in the total number of U.S. restaurant establishments in operation, which is the first time net growth has occurred in the past three years. This release focuses on the four largest states by number of restaurants, which are California, Texas, New York and Florida, which account for 12.2 percent of the total national market.

Evaluating the four most populated states, Texas had the most growth, with a 3.1 percent positive net change in number of restaurants opening over the year. Texas also had the 4th largest overall net market growth in the nation behind Connecticut (4.0 percent), Nebraska (3.2 percent), and Nevada (3.1 percent). However due to the size of Texas, the second most populous state in the nation, net restaurant growth was greater in terms of total new establishment openings. Florida on the other hand, was the only state out of the top four with a net decline, shrinking its total number of restaurants by 0.9 percent.

CHD Expert’s report also finds that the Quick Casual restaurant market segment faired well in all four states, with a positive percent increase of over 3 percent in each of the four states. Quick Casual restaurants are defined as: limited-service restaurants with an average check between $7 and $10, where the food is innovative, suited to sophisticated tastes and is prepared to order with fresh (or perceived as fresh) ingredients, with a more upscale interior than a typical fast food establishment. Examples of Quick Casual Restaurant chains include Corner Bakery, Chipotle, and Panera Bread.

New York however saw their largest growth come from the Quick Service segment with a 5.4 percent over-all net growth in the category. Quick Service is defined as: limited-service restaurant with an average check under $7 and are typically traditional “fast-food” restaurants. Examples include McDonalds, Subway and Burger King.

The market segment that had the most decline overall during 2012 was Ice Cream Parlors and Frozen Deserts. Interestingly enough, the decline is not a result of seasonality, as the decline in overall number of establishments is steady through out the year. In this segment, California had a net decline of 5.7 percent, Texas declined 2.5 percent, New York declined 3.4 percent and Florida declined 6.9 percent.

CHD Expert also reported interesting trends among the top four states’ menu type growth. Texas and New York both had significant growth among the Mexican Menu Type, with a net growth at 10 percent and 5.7 percent respectively. Also staying true to its roots, New York grew significantly in the sandwich, soups, salads, deli, and hot dog menu type with a net year over year growth of 7.4 percent. One common trend among all four states was the overall growth of the American Traditional Menu Type. American Traditional can be defined as a broad based menu, highlighting traditional American fare, like Denny’s, IHop, Ruby Tuesday, and Cracker Barrel. Alternatively, Varied menu type had significant decline in all four states.

Although many American consumers remain budget-conscious when dining out, the restaurant industry as a whole has begun to show signs of recovery. Looking at the specific market segments, the data is showing similar results across the board.

For the first time in years we are seeing a positive net change in the number of new establishments who are opening their doors for the first time,” said Catherine Kearns, General Manager of CHD Expert. “States like California and New York have always played an important role in dictating trends in America, and it is welcome news to see that they are beginning to show signs of prosperity.

To access the 2012 Foodservice Operator Update: A Positive Change in a Challenging Economy in its entirety, please contact Nicolas Watson:

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