Independent Restaurants Struggle to Keep Up with Large Competitors

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry has not been faring so well since the 2008 recession, but not all restaurants have been as bad off as others. Chain restaurants have apparently fared much better than independent restaurants, and actually gained restaurants locations since 2009.

A new study by the NPD Group confirms that from 2008 to 2011, the number of restaurants visits in the United States dropped from 62.7 billion to 60.6 billion. The report went deeper to show that 87% of the loss in restaurants business occurred at independent restaurants, even though before the recession only a little over a quarter of all restaurants visits took place at independent establishments.

To add to the discrepancy, since 2009 restaurant chains now control 61% of the industry, while independent restaurants account for 27% of total restaurant visits. Overall, the number of independent restaurants in the United States decreased by a whopping 7,158. Chain restaurants however increase by 4,511.

The study further showed that higher-end restaurants in large urban areas have continued to fare well throughout the recession, while the smaller restaurants felt the brunt of the recession.

Supporting mom & pop restaurants is more crucial at this time than ever before. While the economy is still recovering, these small restaurants continue to feel the pressure of being squeezed out by chain restaurants and high fees across the board. With events like restaurant week urging consumers to return to local establishments, hopefully small restaurants can rebound and begin to turn the tide against large chains.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com

 

The Lasting Cupcake Culture

Cupcakes have taken on a whole new persona in recent years, from miniaturized cake-bites often served to children or at parties, to gourmet individualized treats served at the finest bakeries and appearing on hit television shows. Some say that the cupcake culture has always been prevalent in the United States, but a recent explosion in cupcake popularity and steady sales even after this initial surge suggest that cupcakes are a permanent fixture in how we eat. Cupcake recipes first began to appear as miniature cakes in cup-sized containers in the late 18th and 19th centuries. From October 2010 to October 2011, 669.4 million cupcakes were sold, demonstrating the lasting popularity of cupcakes appearing in specialized bakeries, food trucks and other outlets. In fact, cupcakes have been largely credited with the rise of specialized bakeries, giving consumers an opportunity to purchase an individualized, gourmet treat at an establishment a step above the common drug store or candy store. With the current state of the economy, cupcakes fit perfectly into most people’s budgets and appeal to their spending needs. Purchasing a cupcake from a bakery or a cupcake truck creates a profoundly different emotional reaction in consumers than buying a candy bar or a packaged dessert from a local convenience store. Ultimately this gives people an affordable means to reward themselves or others. According to consumer trends analyst Chris Carbone, cupcakes appeal to a post-modern culture that values creativity, authenticity, personalization and locally sourced materials. Cupcakes offer more than just a sugary treat, but an experience. By patronizing a boutique cupcakery, consumers become part of a larger story. Cupcakes also give consumers an opportunity to discuss what they’re eating, and share opinions and photos through social media. Less favorable opinions about cupcakes dub them as part of the ‘me-generation’, giving people the ability to self-soothe with a sugary treat, and contribute to a sense of isolation and loneliness. Cupcake haters can be just as vocal as cupcake supporters, blaming a slew of problems from obesity to depression on personalized treats like cupcakes. In moderation, experts say there is no harm in indulging in cupcakes. And while personalized, they tend to reveal a great deal about peoples’ personalities, based upon their many different flavors. In the end, cupcakes continue to be a multimillion dollar industry, and certainly seem to have staked a place in our world of food.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: www.foodtoeat.com