Recipes featured in Schrager's book give a peek at where things are heading as this years' National Fried Chicken Day is celebrated Sunday. New flavors are achieved by varying the type of fat used to the application of seasoning or brining. The bottom line: although fried chicken consumption is declining among the major chains, it is roosting high among mom-and-pops and small chains.
The amount of fried chicken consumed in restaurants has steadily declined over the past four years, according to restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs of the NPD Group. Major restaurant chains, which produce 63 percent of all fried chicken servings in restaurants, make up nearly all of the 11 percent loss in U.S. fried chicken consumption from March 2013 to March 2014, Riggs said.
In stark contrast, small chains experienced a 12 percent rise in fried chicken consumption and independent restaurants did not experience any significant consumption changes, she said.
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"Maybe for the smaller guys the price-value relationship is better than with the larger chains," Riggs said. "When consumers define value, they're talking about a fresh ingredient, and quality, tasty food at reasonable and affordable prices. Even if they pay a little more, if it meets their value expectations, they're willing to pay the price."