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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Old 05-23-2006, 01:08 PM   #1
BrooklynQ
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Default Restaurant Business flat.

America worships at altar of barbecue

Grilling's popularity continues to sizzle

By John Schmeltzer
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 22, 2006

The back-yard barbecue is as popular as ever -- if not more popular.

Americans are grilling foods at home more frequently than any time in the past 20 years, according to new research to be released Monday by the NPD Group, a leading authority on U.S. eating patterns. And the past 20 years were already the period of highest grill use in the U.S.

The barbecue's increasing popularity appears to represent yet another potential threat to the restaurant industry, as consumers look to convenience foods such as prepared foods from supermarkets and delis, or indulge their desire to cook or eat at home.

Indeed, in a continuation of a trend, the number of meals purchased in restaurants is down 4 percent from 2000, the peak year for restaurant meal sales. In addition, more than 60 percent of those meals were eaten outside the restaurant.

The main driver for that is people wanting to eat at home when possible, according to Harry Balzer, vice president of NPD Group.

The restaurant and grilling information was released in conjunction with the National restaurant show being held at McCormick Place and attended by more than 73,000 restaurant operators and suppliers.

The statistics come from data compiled for NPD's 20th annual "Eating Patterns in America" survey, to be released in October.

Overall, Balzer said, people feel they have less time to spend in a restaurant.

Take-out meals are being "taken to work, to their car or home," he said.

But none of these trends adds up to a gloomy restaurant industry convention.

It's still a fact that 47.5 percent of all food dollars are spent at restaurants. However, restaurant meals cost three times as much as those prepared at home, and 75 percent of all meals are prepared and eaten at home, Balzer said.

The NPD survey tracked the habits of 3,500 Americans for a year.

According to NPD, 35 percent of American families fired up their gas and charcoal grills at least once every two weeks as they searched for easier methods to prepare the family meals.

"This is not so much about the flavor as it is the process," said Balzer. "This is all about making life easy."

Grilling is doing the same thing for getting meals onto the table quickly and easily that cars have done, he said.

"Anybody, whether it is the mother, father or a teenager, who can drive can prepare the evening meal," he said, meaning they can drive to pick it up.

Similarly, anyone who cooks can flip a hamburger on a barbecue grill, he said. The advent of easy self-starting grills is a big part of the trend.

The NPD Group said the top-ranked food for grilling was hamburgers, followed by steak, chicken and hot dogs.

On the overall trends, Balzer said data show that the average American purchased 203 meals at a restaurant in 2005, down from the 211 restaurant meals purchased in 2000, the peak year. But he said only 39 percent of the restaurant meals purchased in 2005 were eaten in the dining room.

"Restaurants are being used more than they were 20 or 30 years ago, but for what you want to do most--eat at home," he said.

In 1995, 43 percent of the average 194 meals purchased in a restaurant were eaten at the restaurant, while in 1985, 53 percent of the average 177 meals purchased in a restaurant were eaten there.

Some restaurants are attempting to fight the outdoor grilling trend by adding items to their menus that people would cook on their home grills.

Increasingly casual and non-traditional fast casual restaurants are adding ribs and other barbecued preparations to their offerings, according to Robert Mintz, chief executive of Rupari Food Services Inc., which last year acquired the country's largest rib-processing facility, located in suburban South Holland.

"We're selling 1.5 million pounds per day of ribs," he said, adding that the business is growing at a double-digit rate by word of mouth because the family-owned firm, which is based in Deerfield Beach, Fla., does not advertise or have a Web site.

Balzer agreed that many restaurants, including some high-end establishments, are adding barbecue-type items to their menus in an effort to increase their business.

"There has been a lot of movement as a category," he said, noting it appears to be a "me too" reaction.

And during major growth of the U.S. restaurant industry over the past 30 years, McDonald's remains the No. 1 restaurant in America in sales and visits, according to Balzer.
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Old 05-23-2006, 01:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by BrooklynQ
America worships at altar of barbecue

And during major growth of the U.S. restaurant industry over the past 30 years, McDonald's remains the No. 1 restaurant in America in sales and visits, according to Balzer.
Even without the McRib.....Hmmm. Incredibly sad to hear that.....
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Old 05-23-2006, 02:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by BrooklynQ
Increasingly casual and non-traditional fast casual restaurants are adding ribs and other barbecued preparations to their offerings, according to Robert Mintz, chief executive of Rupari Food Services Inc., which last year acquired the country's largest rib-processing facility, located in suburban South Holland...
Just because they add it to the menu doesn't make it reall bbq in my eyes. I go to certain restaurants for certain food. If I want real bbq I'm going home where there is no boiling and real seasoning.
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Old 05-23-2006, 06:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MrsMista
Just because they add it to the menu doesn't make it reall bbq in my eyes. I go to certain restaurants for certain food. If I want real bbq I'm going home where there is no boiling and real seasoning.
Can I get an Amen!
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:45 PM   #5
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Can I get an Amen!
Amen
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:53 PM   #6
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I am so sick of people smothering crap in bbq sauce and calling it bbq!
Just waiting for the donut shop to get on board!

Bob's all new spicey butt kickin barbecued bearclaws!!!!
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Old 05-23-2006, 08:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bbqjoe
I am so sick of people smothering crap in bbq sauce and calling it bbq!
Just waiting for the donut shop to get on board!

Bob's all new spicey butt kickin barbecued bearclaws!!!!
Yeah, joe, maybe a barbequed blueberry muffin
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