Restaurant Drink Orders Decline

Consumers are ordering fewer beverages in restaurants. Drink orders have declined 4%, or 2 billion servings, over a five-year period, according to new research from The NPD Group, Chicago.

Behind the trend are changing tastes and cost consciousness, NPD said. In particular, carbonated soft drinks, brewed coffee and milk are falling out of favor. Soda and milk, which account for nearly half of beverages ordered at food service, have lost 4 billion servings since 2010, NPD reported. These beverages, however, are still purchased most frequently of all beverage categories.

Meanwhile, iced and frozen coffees, specialty coffees, frozen slush drinks and tap water and bottled water are growing. Specialty coffees and similar beverages are getting a boost from consumers who make a special visit to purchase the drink or order it as a snack.

Consumers order a beverage 70% of the time when visiting restaurants or other food service outlets, according to NPD.

“Despite recent declines in beverage servings, the fact is that beverages are still an important part of food service visits, whether by themselves or as part of a meal,” said Warren Solochek, president of NPD’s food service practice. “In order to drive beverage orders, food service operators will need to understand consumers’ changing tastes and offer an array of quality beverage choices, including healthy options.”

* Abridged from an article by Monica Watrous, Food Business News

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