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Shrinking Menus: Casual Dining Menu Cuts

Shrinking Menus: Casual Dining Menu Cuts


Last Published: 12/10/2018

Shrinking Menus: Casual Dining Menu Cuts

Casual dining restaurant chains are realizing bigger isn’t always better as consumer demands quality over quantity.


In recent years, there has been a growing trend of menus shrinking its number of offerings. It was first noticed in high-end, fine dining restaurants that offered a much smaller selection in return for fresh seasonal ingredients. Today, this trend growing more mainstream, affecting the casual dining restaurant (CDR) segment.

In September 2017, Chili’s Grill & Bar announced it would slash the number of items on its menu by 40%. This chain, like many other CDRs in the past few years, once chased consumer trends and, in trying to be all things to all guests, expanded its menu. Now, their plan is to focus on core offerings of burgers and ribs.

Across all meal parts, casual dining chains are reducing menus in this manner. Market trends show that bigger is not always better, particularly with millennials, who desire easy-to-read menu formats and fewer options. Many operators have noticed that a less-is-more approach creates a more user-friendly customer experience. This is especially prevalent at CDRs, which have been struggling to compete with smaller-menu fast casuals over the years.

Leading manufacturer and entegra supplier, Ventura Foods, says to look for top CDR chains to go back to their roots and focus on the menu items that once made them so popular; this will include retro promotional opportunities as well. Operators will need to find their “leveling-off point” and determine the best number of options to offer on their menus.

Entegra Procurement Services regularly publishes blog posts on food trends and innovations in food services. Entegra is more than a group purchasing organization (GPO): Our team of procurement specialists implement strategic sourcing to bring the most value to your business. We help our clients, in many segments ranging from the healthcare supply chain to restaurant supply, to cut costs and consolidate their portfolios.

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