Restaurants downsizing menus

by Staff
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CHICAGO — Downsizing was a significant menu trend in 2008, according to Mintel Menu Insights. Specifically, mini-food, value pricing and lighter food options were all top trends during the year.

"Two-thousand-and-eight was an extremely difficult year for the restaurant industry," said Maria Caranfa, director of Mintel Menu Insights. "Many Americans were trying to save money by going out to eat less, so restaurants were looking for ways to attract diners. Many food service establishments focused on providing targeted value, the exact food people wanted at prices they could afford."

Mini-burgers, mini-sandwiches and bite-size desserts were popular during the year. As a result of various mandatory nutritional labeling regulations on restaurant menus, many restaurants began offering lower calorie items. In addition, value pricing began to appear at all different restaurants.

Ms. Caranfa expects downsizing to continue as a trend in 2009 as consumers are still focused on stretching their dollars.

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