Japanese Cuisine Drives Growth In Restaurants, But Italian Still Dominates

According to the latest research from Lumina Intelligence’s Menu Tracker, 15.2% of chain restaurant main and starter dishes are Italian – pizza/pasta. However, Japanese accounts for 12.6%, growing +2.8% versus +0.8 for Italian – pizza/pasta.

The data analyses Autumn/Winter menus in 2020 to those a year ago in 2019. Japanese (+2.8%), Thai (+1.3%) and Vietnamese (+0.6%) all feature in the Top 10 growth cuisines from 2019-2020. Asian ingredients and flavours lend themselves well to meat free dishes, aligning with the growing trend for vegetarian and vegan options across menus.

For pub/bar restaurants, British cuisine continues to dominate. Over one in five (20.6%) starter and main dishes on pub and bar restaurant menus are British cuisine led. Other leading cuisines are typical ‘pub grub’ categories including burgers (11.3%) and steaks (9.5%).

As well as being the most common cuisines found on pub/bar restaurant menus, British (+3.7%) and burgers (+3.2%) are seeing growth.

Commenting on the results, Katie Prowse, Senior Insight Manager at Lumina Intelligence said, “Italian cuisine is at the heart of many leading chain restaurant menus including Pizza Express, Pizza Hut Restaurants and Prezzo. However, Asian influences are continuing to grow share of dishes on menus within chain restaurants. The flexibility of Asian food, ensures it can be easily adapted to cater for a range of dietary requirements, particularly vegetarian and vegan.”

“For pub/bar restaurants, there remains a dominance of the ‘pub grub’ classics, such as burgers, British cuisine, steak etc. With the pandemic forcing many outlets to completely close their doors, operators have streamlined their menus to mitigate rising costs, reduced capacities and back of house restrictions. Furthermore, burgers and British cuisine are versatile and can be adjusted to align with consumer trends around indulgence, customisation and plant based diets”