Kids-specific menu items outperformed overall food category in on-premise in 1Q13

According to GuestMetrics, kids-specific items outpaced sales of the overall food category during the first quarter of 2013 in full-service restaurants.

“While kids-specific food items are still a fairly small portion of the overall food category in full service restaurants with about 2 percent of total sales, in analyzing the over 600 different types of kids-specific items we track in our system, our data indicates food geared specifically towards children solidly outperformed the growth of the overall food category,” says Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC. “Kids-specific food sales were up about 12 percent during the first quarter of 2013 versus the 1 percent growth achieved by the overall food category. Additionally, the 12 percent growth was a healthy acceleration from the 4 percent growth in 2012, so kids-specific food appears to be picking up momentum.”

“Looking at the progression of kids-specific food items’ share of the overall food category at a quarterly level, it appears there is some seasonality associated with them, which could present operators with an opportunity as we head into summer,” says Peter Reidhead, vice president of Strategy and Insights at GuestMetrics. “In 2011 and 2012, kids’ food items started out with a 1.7 percent share in 1Q, rose to 1.9 percent in 2Q, increased further to about 2.1 percent in 3Q, and then declined back down to 1.7 percent in 4Q, which is logical given the timing of summer vacation for school-aged children. Given food accounts for about 65 percent of total sales in on-premise and has been experiencing little growth, operators could use kid-specific items on the menu as a hook for driving traffic among families.”

“While we track well over 500 kids-specific food items in our system, nearly 40 percent of the sales come from just five items, namely Chicken Fingers, Burgers, Cheese Pizza, Chicken Tenders, and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches,” says Brian Barrett, president of GuestMetrics. “Given the high degree of concentration, restaurant operators that currently do not have a kids-specific offering should be able to harness some of the growth by adding a relatively small number of items to the menu.”   

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