Thanks to economic pressures on both restaurants and consumers, safety concerns, a rise in working from home, and a new preference for takeout and delivery, many operators are adapting their menus and those changes have been popular with the public. In fact, more than half of those who've introduced new offers plan to continue them after restrictions lift1.
Ten Simple Ways to Satisfy Your Guests
- Shrink your menu. Focus on your most popular items, removing low sellers, sharable foods, and self-serve. This makes it easier to operate with a reduced staff and trims your food costs and waste.
- Provide more balanced choices. Foods rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds that are a “source of” Vitamins A, C, B12, B6 & D, copper, selenium, folate, iron, or zinc support the normal function of the immune system.2 Adding these foods into your recipes make your menu more balanced and let you create dishes that people enjoy and feel good about eating during these challenging times.
- Provide family-style meals. A family meal including a main dish, dessert, and beverages appeals to parents who are juggling childcare, online learning, and working at home, and less caloric options may be welcome to those watching their weight during the pandemic. It’s also an easy way to introduce side dishes or desserts that may become future favorites.
- Increase grab-and-go items. Individually wrapped breakfast foods, sandwiches, and bottled drinks make it simple for people to enjoy food while social distancing, eating outdoors, or in their own home.
- Offer meal kits or take-&-bake. From pizza ingredients to mixes for your signature dips, this approach gives guests the fun of reproducing their favorite dishes in the safety and comfort of home.
- Earn trust through transparency. In uncertain times, knowing exactly where food comes from may help guests feel safer. When possible, list the provenance of your produce, meat, and dairy to reassure them.
- Focus on value. With many consumers facing job losses and paycuts, 46% are looking for more value items3. Think about upsizing dishes to provide a second meal or adding inexpensive sides to increase the value perception
- Or, offer a little luxury. “Fancy” dishes can be an easy, affordable treat, a welcome change of pace, or a way to celebrate, even if people are at home. Think cheese platters, appetizers, or decadent desserts that most guests wouldn’t be able to make for themselves at home.
- Consider which foods travel well. As takeout becomes a new habit, guests are learning which kinds of dishes travel well. If it’s best served right out of the oven or freezer, leave it off the delivery menu to keep quality consistently high.
- Choose takeout containers carefully. Temperature insulation, leak-proof seals, and sizes and shapes that protect food during transport are key. Choose recyclable or compostable materials when possible. Stock a variety of containers to accommodate your whole takeout menu.
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1 Dataessential Road to Recovery. 2020.
2 Nestlé Research and Development, 2020.
3 Technomic, 2020. Menu Solutions for Post-Pandemic Business Growth.