Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

AUG 2019

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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Page 77 of 92

The stage couldn't be set better for the Mediterranean restaurant segment. Healthy ingredients, check. Unique avors, check. Dishes with widespread appeal, check. "Along with speci•c regions, this seg- ment generally refers to the Mediterranean diet, which includes ingredients like •sh, leaner proteins, fresh vegetables and olives," says Darren Tristano, CEO of Foodservice Results, an industry insight •rm based in Chicago. "It's synonymous with healthy." Centered on plant-based foods, whole grains, legumes and nuts, this diet includes olive and canola oils as opposed to butter, as well as herbs and spices rather than salt. According to London-based Mintel, 66 percent of U.S. consumers are interested in Middle Eastern foods at restaurants and the growth of Middle Eastern cuisine on U.S. restaurant menus increased 32 percent between 2015 and 2017. The Washington, D.C.-based National Restaurant Association reports veggie-centric/vegetable-forward cuisine, of which many Mediterranean dishes are centered on, is one of the top culinary concepts for 2019. Positioned for Growth Much of Mediterranean cuisine's growth has occurred in the fast-casual segment. Sales at Chicago-based Roti Modern Mediterranean's 41 locations have increased almost 30 percent over the last year and Birmingham, Ala.-based fast-casual Taziki's Mediterranean Café reported sales growth of close to 10 per- cent at its 82 restaurants last year, accord- ing to Chicago-based data from market research •rm Technomic. Just as it has in other industry seg- ments, consolidation continues to impact Mediterranean operations. At the end of 2018, CAVA Group Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based Mediterranean fast-casual operation, completed its acquisition of Zoës Kitchen in an effort to broaden its geographic footprint. In the past 10 years, Zoës Kitchen grew from 21 locations in 7 states to 268 sites in 20 states. CAVA also has 70-plus locations, which it describes as chef-casual, across 10 states. AUGUST 2019 FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES 75

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