Restaurant patrons are increasingly going out to pasture, “grazing” their way through smaller servings instead of sitting down to longer and more expensive meals in a shift that has eateries rushing to adjust.
Nearly half of diners now say they’re snacking twice a day, compared with the quarter who said the same in 2010, according to research group Technomic. More than 6 in 10 customers said that the snacks they bought were impulse purchases.
Snack brands at Stockton, Calif.-based Diamond Foods Inc. are doing well, the company said Tuesday, with Kettle chips and Pop Secret popcorn both seeing sales increases in the 12-week period ending Feb. 18. Sales from the Emerald nuts brand were up 29% compared with the same period a year earlier.
Convenience store chains have been poaching customers from fast-food competitors, Technomic found this fall.
That growth has dining establishments trying new tactics to keep customers coming – including offering faster, cheaper and more portable and compact food and drink.
Cheesecake Factory now has a “Small Plates and Snacks” menu that features items such as mini corn dogs and chicken samosas. California Pizza Kitchen’s “Small Cravings” offerings include Korean BBQ steak tacos and salads.