Equipment innovation drives fast food up market

Gourmet service of traditional fast food favourites remains the UK’s fastest growing restaurant trend, according to foodservice consultancy Horizons.

Burgers, hot dogs and coffee shops continue to march up-market, with catering equipment suppliers delivering technological improvements that enable the trend.

“A wider variety of takeaway foods are available as consumers expect better quality food-on-the-go,” suggests Horizons’ director of services Paul Backman. “New specialists are emerging, such as outlets selling dishes with just one or two ingredients or Artisan versions of popular concepts. Many are focusing their attention on high traffic areas such as shopping malls, railway stations and airports.”

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The Horizon Ones to Watch report suggests that equipment suppliers should watch for transport infrastructure building projects for news of the next big installation opportunity. Major upgrades like Kings Cross station in London created three times more concourse space, most of which was snapped up by established and emerging fast food brands.

Ones to Watch brands such as Benito’s Hat Mexican Kitchen and Lebanese chain Yalla Yalla joined established giants such as Pret A Manger and Burger King.

Many of the new concepts focus on limited menu offers such as Chicken Shop, owned by Nick Jones, the man behind Soho House, the London-based chain Burger & Lobster, and Mark Hix’s Tramshed, which sells steaks and chicken-based dishes.

Coffee shops continue to be a UK success story with high street brands expanding their repertoire as consumers becoming more knowledgeable and discerning about coffee.

Artisan coffee shops using top spec espresso machines are differentiating themselves from dominant players like Costa, Starbucks and Caffè Nero.

Horizon identifies five top trends that equipment suppliers can tap into.

First, the coffee shop market’s biggest players are being challenged by artisan outlets with an emphasis on top spec espresso machines with expert baristas. Ones to watch include : Coffee#1, SOHO Coffee Co, Love Coffee, Greggs Moment, Sacred Cafe, Taylor St Baristas.

Secondly, pub food continues to improve as independents and chains take on the high street restaurants. Smaller independent operators have pushed the boundaries with more gourmet food in modern surroundings. Ones to Watch: Cloverleaf Restaurants, Eating Inn, Peach Pubs, Renaissance Pubs.

Healthy eating continues to grow. Key Ones to Watch are: Chop’d, Food To Go, Pod, Tossed.

Gourmet burgers are a category of their own. Better equipment and quality ingredients are combining to keep the growth alive. Key Ones to Watch: Byron, Handmade Burger Co.

Finally, frozen yoghurt served in a variety of fruit and chocolate flavours is going mainstream. Key Ones to Watch are: Frae, Snog, Pinkberry, Yog, Yoomoo.

 

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