The United Kingdom has welcomed many American brands to its soil. Chains such as KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Chipotle, Starbucks, Domino’s, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut have made huge footprints there.
That trend will continue into 2011, according to Technomic. The foodservice industry consultant identified the top 11 trends in the U.K. for the coming year, some of which mirrored those in the U.S. while others reflected British trends.
“In foodservice, the world is certainly getting smaller,” said Darren Tristano, Technomic executive vice president. “It is always interesting to compare the proliferation of menu trends in various regions of the world and see how they coincide and contrast. Even as the trends become more global in nature, there are always distinct cultural cues and preferences that restaurant operators need to recognize in order to succeed.”
The 11 U.K. foodservice trends identified for 2011 include:
1. Chain swap. A number of U.K.-based chains, such as Wagamama, Pret A Manger and YO! Sushi will expand their presence in the United States, while U.S.–based chains, including Chipotle, Taco Bell and T.G.I.Friday’s, will spread throughout the U.K.
2. Fast casual growth. The fast casual segment grew by 28 percent in the U.K. in 2009 and 2010. That growth will continue in 2011, both with U.S. and U.K.-based restaurants.
3. Rise and shine. As American quick-service and fast casual chains jockey for the high-demand breakfast market, U.K. operators will begin paying more attention to the daypart as well.
4. Local sourcing. Seasonal menu changes will highlight local foods and flavors, with operators embracing a farm-to-table business model.
5. For the health of it. Menus will reflect healthier attitudes, with low-sodium offerings and “functional” foods that tout a boost to the immune system.
6. Viva Mexico. Mexican cuisine, which has been underrepresented in the U.K., will grow behind the expansion of chains such as Chipotle and Taco Bell, as well as U.K. brands such as Wahaca and Benito’s Hat.
7. At your service. More chains will offer delivery in 2011, especially during cold weather months. Technology will be leveraged for this growth with iPhone ordering apps and other platforms.
8. Prix-fixe. Fixed-price menus will increasingly let customers choose their courses and specify their dishes, as well as showcase new creations.
9. Getting social. Chains will use social media forums more to supplement traditional marketing tactics, including a continued expansion of Facebook and location-based programs.
10. Brand repositioning. Many operators are repositioning their brands, and multi-concept operators are selling restaurants that no longer fit their business models. Some chains will purchase smaller sites to save money and take advantage of real estate bargains.
11. Reinvention of pubs. Pubs will shift their attention to lunch and breakfast dayparts, and will emphasize gourmet coffee, in light of the smoking ban and growing societal concerns about alcohol abuse.