August 30 2014 – Robert Fiumara
The Millenials are soon going to be the majority of your dining public and they’re not going away. As a group with limited time, money, and growing health concerns, they are ever conscious of both convenience, nutrition (IE Calorie counts), and pricing in food service. In fact, so much so that smaller portions for smaller prices are at the forefront of restaurant dialog.
Adjusting Your Menu to Meet Trends is Just Good Business
As a result, snack foods are taking center stage, often being eaten instead of a full meal even during regular meal hours. Recent research indicates that snack foods eaten at main meals will grow approximately 5% over the next five years, and something like 20% of consumers already opt into snacking over regular convenient meals.
What are we to do? Well, leading industry analysts suggest diminishing the divide between snack foods and entrees, and instead blend the two. It requires a paradigm shift of sorts as you change from a traditional restaurant plan to meeting the demands of convenience and smaller, more affordable meals. Without a doubt, the strongest category of snack foods eaten at meals will considerably and overwhelmingly be health food items. Including items such as fresh fruit, granola and fiber bars, or yogurt isn’t just smart business, it’s necessary to fuel growth in a shifting food market.
It is also important to note that the lower price point of snack food items makes them attractive impulse purchases or add-ons. These sorts of items have strong upsell potential and can boost sales throughout even the slowest periods in a given business day.
Likewise, the newest eating generations have a strong emphasis on fresh food that’s driven largely by the interconnected and multicultural reality of the world they inhabit. Since they are in greater contact with a more diverse group of people, their values reflect the necessity of that. At the top of the health food trend will be a demand for locally or regionally produced foods, particularly in the meat category.
The Snack Mentality is Here to Stay
As the healthy eating trend grows, it’s more and more evident to those of us in the restaurant business that more and more consumers are opting out of dining out in lieu of healthy snacking or pre-packed meals. By altering your menu and adding smaller plates with healthier and more nutritious ingredients, you can do a lot to bring these folks back into your restaurant.