There’s no denying that today’s consumers can be both fickle and feisty. They’re seeking out better-for-you foods more than in years past and are vocal about what they expect from restaurant menus. Plus, they’ve been groomed to ask for menu customization and substitution. Some operators are being proactive when it comes to consumers’ mindsets and food demands, while others are fighting to defend themselves, as seen by trends we’re starting to monitor as the year comes to a close.
1. Reassurances about meat
Will the World Health Organization’s recent report that some red and processed meats, such as hot dogs and bacon, are linked to cancer further propel the shift toward plant-based entrees? Dickey’s Barbecue Pit isn’t take a chance, reassuring consumers that its meats, which are cured in-house and cooked low and slow, are safer than the packaged versions.
2. Food-allergy surcharges
With the number of special orders skyrocketing, chefs have started to charge customers for allergy-related requests. Though P.F. Chang’s is being sued by a woman who says she shouldn’t have to pay more for gluten-free items, Paul Overgaag, chef-owner of The Red House and Charlie’s Kitchen in Boston has found the upcharge to be an effective deterrent for fakers. (Source: The Boston Globe)