News Roundup: The Grocery-Restaurant Price Gap, Meal Kit Popularity, and Del Taco All on the Rise

In this week’s episode of "On Foodable Weekly," host Paul Barron holds a round-table discussion of the latest restaurant industry news. Joined by The Restaurant Coach, Donald Burns, and speaker and consultant at Customer Service is the Bottom Line, Andrew Carlson, Paul talks about the widening grocery-restaurant price gap, the increasing popularity of meal kits, and growth shown by American-Mexican chain Del Taco.

The Grocery-Restaurant Price Gap

We have seen a 2.4 percent increase in restaurant prices over the past year. That, coupled with a 2.2 percent drop in grocery prices, has understandably led families to take to the grocery store. While this gap may have resulted in the decline in the same-store sales we have been seeing, there is a slew of other reasons that may be contributing to this gap, as well. One of the biggest contributors is the upcoming presidential election. As Andrew explains, Americans are worried about what will happen after the election. The unpredictability of the future may be leading consumers to stay home and save a couple extra dollars in preparation for economic uncertainty.

The Growing Popularity of Meal Kits

Also causing some worry in the restaurant industry is the growing popularity of meal kits. The meal-kit surge shows no signs of slowing. As Donald notes, their popularity may be growing as an attempt to reconnect to the days where families would pass down and teach recipes. Some big brand restaurants like Panera and Moe's are showing that large chunks of their consumer bases are starting to join the meal-kit revolution. 

Del Taco Steps Up

Paul also discusses Del Taco, a restaurant that is showing big growth. With its increase in offering high-quality products and high-level of loyalty and reference, the sentiment score of Del Taco is increasing. This growth could also be in relation to the struggles Chipotle is having after their E. coli outbreak last year.

“Chipotle set themselves as the standard for quality products, and then when they had their slip in favor or public opinion of them, Del Taco took a great opportunity and perfect timing, took advantage of it and they upped their game with a lot better quality ingredients.”

Watch the episode to learn more!

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