Should Restaurants Further Diversify the Mainstream Menu?

There's the mantra that most chain restaurants are more of the same; they all have a similar selection of cuisines, with each of them offering their own specialty option, whether it be a unique burger or a tower of onion rings. At any chain restaurant, you'll find the common components of the mainstream menu: steak, burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, pizza, pasta. Rarely do chains stray too far from the common menu. But what if restaurants provided a more ethnically diverse selection? Would the public receive it well?  

Studies show, they would. According to the National Restaurant Association, 75% of consumers like it when restaurants with mainstream menus serve ethnic food, and 8 in every 10 consumers eat at least one ethnic cuisine per month. Ethnic food is increasingly popular, with two-thirds of consumers eating a wider variety of ethnic cuisines now than they did 5 years ago. It's a huge opportunity for restaurants to not only make changes to improve the variety of their options, but to invite an evolving and diversified consumer base to enjoy different kinds of food. 

So, what kind of ethnic cuisines are begging to be introduced into mainstream menus? According to the NRA, three of the least known cuisines are Ethiopian, Brazilian/Argentinian, and Korean. Tell me the last time you saw any of these cuisines in a mainstream chain, and if you have, kudos to them.  

The restaurant industry is constantly growing; sales are up over $200 billion since 2010, and so far this year in 2018, sales are already up another 3.8% against a year ago. More and more people are dining out; it's no secret that 9 in 10 people enjoy going out to eat. With a growing market, restaurants must capitalize by diversifying their menus and bringing in unique cuisines people have never tried before. Consumers take pride in having tried a lot of different cuisines, and in turn, the first restaurants to start offering unique food options, will be the first to take the most advantage of this uptick in dining revenue. 

All statistics, data and information was gained from the National Restaurant Association.