Grégoire, the trailblazing fine-fast-casual restaurant concept, just wrapped up a pivotal year, not only celebrating its 21st anniversary, but also a year of strategic growth, innovative advancements, and community engagement. Founded in 2002 by French-trained chef Grégoire Jacquet, the brand has revolutionized the culinary scene by offering high-quality, fine dining-style food in a convenient carry-out format.

"It has been a learning experience for us – a year of setting up and really finding out what works,” Jacquet said. “We're focused on fine-tuning the digital experience for our customers and adding new platforms for delivery, ensuring that our operations are strong, and our supply chain is well-established. We are looking for our first franchisee and are excited about the potential growth.”

And the results speak for themselves. The brand has seen steady YOY growth over the past few years, with revenues coming in at $1.54 million in 2022, up from $1.18 million in 2019.

Now, Grégoire is ready to bring that lucrative model to more communities across the country.

It's rewarding to know that we've had the support of the community for all these years,” said Jacquet. “Today, consumers don’t want to choose between quality and convenience – they are eager for higher-quality options that don’t require full, sit-down service.”

Grégoire fills that void with a unique rotating menu, which changes quarterly to reflect the seasonal availability of locally sourced ingredients, and consistently fantastic house-made recipes, available on-the-go.”

The secret ingredient, Jacquet says, is the brand’s unique culinary hub-to-store kitchen model, which leverages preparation and distribution centers for the fresh, homemade ingredients that make Grégoire stand out.

Looking ahead to 2024, the focus will be on further franchising efforts, particularly in the Bay Area. The ideal Grégoire franchisee will have a deep passion for serving food and a thorough understanding and appreciation of where food comes from. Owners should also be well-versed in customer service and love interacting with the people of their community.

"Our goal is to sign our first franchisee by year-end, showing our readiness to start and grow rapidly," said Jacquet. “Grégoire franchisees will have the opportunity to follow a proven system and benefit from decades of experience in the restaurant industry.”

Now, with its newly launched franchise opportunity, franchisees have the chance to invest in Grégoire on the ground floor and partner with a brand that is poised to disrupt one of the biggest segments in foodservice. Early franchisees will have their pick of prime real estate and work closely with the brand’s executive team as they build one of the most promising franchises in the industry.

Emotional well-being

As the food landscape continues to evolve – reflecting technological advancements, cultural and economic shifts – the International Food Information Council (IFIC) presents its annual food trends forecast. According to its team of food, nutrition and health experts and its consumer research insights, 2024 will see more functional beverages, a boom in botanicals, rising demand for foods that support emotional well-being, a focus on food labels and a growing acceptance of artificial intelligence (AI).

“The belief that the food we eat directly influences not only our physical but also our emotional and mental well-being continues to gain traction, prompting a paradigm shift in the way we’re eating and what we’re placing in our shopping carts,” explains Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, RD, MSN, chief executive officer of IFIC.

According to the IFIC 2023 Food & Health Survey, three in four Americans (74%) believe the food and beverages they consume have a significant or moderate impact on their overall mental and emotional well-being. Conversely, more than six in ten (61%) also believe their overall mental and emotional well-being has a significant or moderate impact on their food and beverage choices.

In the next year, IFIC forecasts a greater emphasis on how nutrition can support mental and emotional health, including supplements focused on women’s health, as well as foods and beverages to assist with sleep, stress reduction and support mood (look for ingredients such as ashwagandha and turmeric).

The demand for wellness-related products will also lean on the use of botanicals – a group of ingredients that include herbs, flowers, and roots – and will be incorporated into teas, seltzers, and certain foods.

Protein snacking

Plant-based proteins aren’t new, but the amalgamation of protein-fortified products and protein-focused snacks are a newer trend. And while consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with innovative, plant-based food alternatives, plant-based seafood will take plant-based to new heights.

Keep an eye out for products fortified with protein, such as rice, pasta, baking mixes, nut protein powders, and snack foods. This is not surprising, since “high-protein” was the number one ranked eating pattern from the IFIC 2023 Food & Health Survey (at 18%, followed by mindful eating [17%], calorie-counting [12%], clean eating [12%], and intermittent fasting [12%]).

Alyssa Pike, RD, IFIC’s Senior Manager of Nutrition Communications says, “We’ve seen an uptick in interest around protein-rich diets, and consumers are interested in boosting this nutrient any way they can—even the unconventional.”

More than a label

In 2024, expect a heightened emphasis on transparent food labeling, empowering shoppers to make informed decisions about the foods and beverages they consume. Labels such as “clean,” “cold-pressed,” and “fermented,” which consumers associate with healthfulness, will continue to be at the forefront.

Actions by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are bringing Americans closer to an updated definition of a “healthy” food. As far as consumers are concerned, the most common attributes they believe define a healthy food are “fresh” (37%), “low in sugar” (32%) and “good source of protein” (29%), according to the IFIC 2023 Food & Health Survey.

“Front-of-Package nutrition labeling will be a major focus in 2024 as U.S. food regulators roll out a new labeling proposal to help shoppers make easier, quicker, and healthier food decisions. The proposal will spur a national conversation about the importance of reading food labels (on the front and the back of the package) and the multitude of factors beyond labeling that influence our personal food choices,” explains Kris Sollid, RD, IFIC’s senior director of nutrition communications. 

Swipe, like, eat

“Lest we forget the ‘girl dinner’ trend from over the summer, or the potato chips and caviar combo that launched high/low snacking into the ether,” says Phillips. “We predict more social media-induced snacking and cooking trends to continue well into 2024.”

According to IFIC’s data, as a result of social media content, half of Americans (51%) say they have tried a new recipe, 42% say they have tried a new brand or product, 29% say they have tried a new restaurant, and 28% say they have reevaluated their relationship with food. Six in ten say they have made healthier choices as a result of information they see on social media. Phillips notes, “If we’ve learned anything, it’s to not underestimate the power of social media in influencing what people are eating, cooking and buying.” 

The expanding role of e-commerce

In 2022, US e-commerce spending soared to more than $1 trillion, representing the biggest year on record, according to the new report, “The High Cost of Invisibility for Multi-Location Enterprises Learnings” from SOCi’s 2023 Local Visibility Index. That’s an astounding number, and with all eyes on e-commerce, it’s easy to overlook another eye-opening insight:

  • 85% of retail commerce dollarsare spent offline with local businesses, according to

The overwhelming majority of consumers today use digital tools to find information about local businesses and, increasingly, to perform transaction-oriented actions like ordering for pickup or booking an appointment. And the growth of e-commerce has trained consumers to expect a high level of digital presence from businesses of all kinds, including local stores and service providers.

But it’s clear that brick and mortar brands are struggling to keep up with consumers’ online expectations. According to our 2023 Local Visibility Index (LVI) – the average U.S. business is virtually invisible in 2 out of 3 local searches, even when 9 of 10 consumers turn to search when they have a need.

Ignores 92 percent of customer questions (like “Are you open late on Christmas Eve?” and “Do you sell golf equipment?”) posted to their Google profiles.

Doesn't respond to 54% of their consumer reviews, failing to address complaints and, worse, thank consumers for their feedback. Negative reviews have an even lower response rate of 35%.

When a business responds to its reviews, searchers are 16 percent more likely to convert into buyers. Shockingly, though, the average brand responds to only 46 percent of online reviews, failing to address complaints and, worse, thank consumers for their feedback.

This type of digital “invisibility” comes at an incredibly steep price: it’s costing the U.S. retail industry $2.4B every year.

In today’s business landscape, where marketing budgets are shrinking and marketers are expected to achieve more with less, multi-location brands with brick & mortar presence have an opportunity to significantly increase their market share by simply engaging in meaningful, two-way digital conversations with consumers.

The average brand responds to only 46 percent of online reviews.

Looking ahead

According to Guy Yair, Chief Business Officer, Trigo, 2023 was a pivotal year for computer vision-based store automation during which many of the barriers that had previously prevented mainstream adoption began to be toppled.

For example, frictionless checkout made the leap from convenience stores to full-sized supermarkets, enabling shoppers to select their desired items from a full range of grocery lines – including complex products such as reduce-to-clear items – and exit the store without needing to stop and check out. This breakthrough represented the culmination of years of research and development and is rightly considered to be a watershed moment in the technology’s development, he says.

2024 will be marked by more of these technological leaps forward that will further accelerate adoption of autonomous retail technology, both across the grocery sector and other retail channels. Demand will be driven both by growing consumer familiarity and confidence in the technology, and the realization of the critical role that the wider suite of store automation tools can play in helping retailers to meet a variety of business challenges.

Another big breakthrough that will impact retail in a meaningful way has to do with data analytics: being able to collect in-store real-time (anonymized) data on a grand scale and process it to deliver predictive insights on shopper behavior that can transform the retail business. This capability is new to the market, and it is exciting to see how retailers will leverage it in 2024.”