What you need to know

Consumers’ definition of snacking is one that is blurred, encompassing a variety of food and beverage categories. The treat yourself mentality is driving the indulgent side of specialty snacking, but consumers also desire healthful options they can feel good about. Convenience and variety are important for specialty snack shops to set themselves apart, especially since retail remains a stronger competitor.


The purpose of this Report is to analyze consumers’ attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions surrounding specialty snack shops. It will also explain what types of snack shops are innovating as well as profiling some of the trends happening in retail.

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following restaurant definitions:

  • Quick service restaurants (QSRs) – Used interchangeably with “fast food,” QSRs specialize in inexpensive, convenient meals. There is no waiter service, no alcoholic beverages, and low price point. Examples include: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Pizza Hut.

  • Fast casual restaurants – These establishments are characterized by a higher price point than QSRs though not as high as full service restaurants. Fast casuals do not offer waiter service and may or may not serve alcohol. Examples include: Chipotle, Panera Bread, Shake Shack, and Blaze Pizza.

  • Limited service restaurants (LSRs) – These establishments provide food services where customers usually select and order items and pay before dining. Food/drink may be consumed on the premises, offered as carryout, or delivered to the customer’s location. These may also sell alcoholic beverages. LSRs include both QSRs and fast casual restaurants.

  • Full service restaurants (FSRs) – These establishments have waiter/waitress service in which customers order and are served while seated. These may also sell alcoholic beverages and offer carryout services and include the restaurant segments: midscale, casual dining, and fine dining.

  • Convenience stores (C-stores) - Convenience stores are establishments that retail a limited line of goods, primarily groceries and ready-to-consume beverages and snacks, in easily accessible locations. The majority of convenience stores also sell motor fuel.

Respondents for the survey of this Report were asked about the following types of specialty snack restaurants:

  • Ice cream shop (eg, Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery)

  • Frozen yogurt shop (eg, Pinkberry, Red Mango)

  • Smoothie/Juice shop (eg, Jamba Juice, Smoothie King)

  • Baked goods shop (eg, Cinnabon, Mrs. Fields)

  • Other snack shop (eg, Auntie Anne’s, Garret Popcorn)

  • Tea shop (eg, Argo Tea, Teavana)

  • Coffee shop (eg, Starbucks, Intelligentsia)

  • Chocolate/candy shop (eg, Godiva / Ghirardelli)

  • Donut shop (eg, Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme).

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