NEW YORK – Spending on food away from home will capture an increasing share of consumers’ food dollars, and Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) will be the biggest beneficiaries, according to a report from Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory Group.

In its report, Rabobank forecasts growth in spending on food away from home will exceed spending on food at home for the first time by 2018. Rabobank said the US has not reached a turning point in consumer behavior or a return to budget-conscious habits and home cooking. The emphasis on at-home eating during 2007-2009 was temporary, according to Rabobank.

QSRs are expected to capture most of the gain from consumers’ preference for dining out, according to Rabobank’s report. QSRs have adopted strategies to drive growth or maintain current performance during volatile economic periods. Also, QSRs are headed in a new direction by addressing quality and nutrition issues, and maintaining a low-cost service model.

Winning strategies that will buoy QSR growth include:

• Giving consumers what they want by responding to longer-term lifestyle changes and to emerging trends towards healthy eating options, premium coffee, etc.

• Adopting the franchise business model, which spares the franchisor the heavy capital investments and management responsibility involved in building a chain of restaurants, while providing a stable stream of rent and royalty income and faster growth.

• Driving costs out of the supply chain, employing risk management practices and leveraging scale. QSRs also invest in close collaboration through building long-term partnerships with decentralized supply and distribution networks.

• Adapting to economic volatility by using strategies such as menu diversification, improving the look and feel of the restaurants, branching out into more eating occasions, and improving the quality of dining experience.