In the past, quick-serve restaurants were the place to be for many consumers, regardless of daypart or eating occasion. But with shifting consumer habits, including family size and the desire for more premium menu options, fast-casual restaurants and grocery stores are homing in on diners’ wallets.
With increased competition from across foodservice segments, QSR operators have had to readjust the way they do business in order to remain successful. There are a few strategies that shouldn’t be overlooked in this effort—here are four ways that QSR operators can get a bigger share of consumers’ foodservice dollars.
1. Highlighting value
Beyond a low-cost menu, QSRs can highlight value in other ways that aren’t about money. In fact, more consumers (34%) say that food and beverage quality has more influence on creating value than cost does (30%), according to Technomic’s 2017 Value & Pricing report.
As for how to highlight food and beverage quality and focus less on price, top-reported attributes that create value to consumers are taste/flavor (86% of consumers say so), quality of food (81%) and freshness (75%). Offering fresh produce on sandwiches or burgers and communicating premium menu options (such as all-natural ingredients in soups, for instance) are ways to play to consumers’ desire for value.
2. Optimizing off-premise offerings
Takeout and delivery aren’t just for full-service restaurants anymore. In fact, among diners 18- to 34-years old, 49% say they are ordering to-go orders more often than they were two years ago, and 79% of consumers overall say they are ordering to-go food from fast-food restaurants more, according to Technomic’s recent Takeout & Off-Premise report.
To keep up with the demand of consumers who want fast-food menu items without having to drive to the restaurant, operators will want to optimize their off-premise offerings. To-go patronage is still highest at dinner, but breakfast orders are catching up, with 57% of consumers saying they do so at least once a month. Operators can consider offering meal bundles for breakfast to boost breakfast sales and should also promote delivery options—more locations are offering third-party delivery services, which can help increase the number of to-go orders.
As for how to implement the ordering, operators should offer a few different ways to order food to-go, so that various consumers can do so the way they prefer to. For instance, according to Technomic’s 2018 Future of LSR report, when ordering food for delivery from a fast-food restaurant, 49% say they typically do so via the telephone, while 45% say they do so on the foodservice location’s app or website, and 14% order via a third-party website or app.
3. “Premiumizing” menus
One popular fast-food restaurant, In-N-Out Burger, highlights the quality if its ingredients, including using a slogan of “Quality you can taste” and claiming that the chain “doesn’t own a microwave, heat lamp or freezer.” This type of quality can be used to boost the perception that the consumer is getting a premium item.
Beyond marketing, though, operators can also menu items that include premium ingredients, such as artisan cheeses and breads or organic meats and veggies. And it can prove beneficial—Technomic’s 2018 Future of LSR report finds that 41% of consumers say that high-quality, fresh food is one of the most important factors when choosing a place to eat.
Options popping up on menus include smoked cheeses, Applewood smoked bacon, guacamole or avocados. Operators can also up their soup game—by offering unexpected options such as roasted red pepper bisque, premium menu options can be offered without breaking the budget, and consumers can enjoy a soup combo that feels a little more luxe.
Playing up the presence of these premium items can help operators can compete with the fast-casual darlings of the world and consumers can try out delicious, quality meals at a lower price point.
4. Focusing on consumers’ shifting habits
Consider this: Some of the biggest traffic drivers among consumers visiting foodservice locations have to do with getting a good value for more than one person, since a growing number of millennials and younger diners have families to feed these days. According to Technomic’s 2017 Value & Pricing report, 56% of consumers say that bundled meals for two influence them to visit a restaurant, while 45% say the same about bundled meals for a family and 34% say that kids-eat-free specials encourage them to choose a particular foodservice location.
For operators trying to stay competitive, offering family meal deals (such as soup-salad-entree deals) to cater to consumers’ shifting habits can be key to attracting busy moms and dads on their way home from work. According to Technomic’s 2018 Future of LSR report, almost half (45%) of consumers visit fast-food restaurants with their partner or spouse, while 21% visit with young children (under 12 years old). Offering options that appeal to both parents and kids can help boost interest in fast-food locations.
Serving carefully crafted soups
Guests are expecting more from quick-service restaurant menus, from freshness and quality to unique ingredients and bundled meals. As the foodservice landscape continues to evolve, you can be sure you’re delivering on guests’ demands with carefully crafted soups from Campbell’s Foodservice.
To help you meet demand for freshness and quality, we start each one of our frozen soup recipes from scratch, adding flavor and nutrition, leaving out added MSG, HFCS, colors from artificial sources and artificial flavors.
Campbell’s® Reserve Wicked Thai Style Chicken & Rice soup is just one example of how we can help you add interest and intrigue to the menu with ease. It’s a flavorful blend of chicken, rice, peppers, aromatic spices and more—delicious as is or served over a rice bowl.
Soups can be the key to well-rounded, great-tasting meal bundles—but that’s not all. Check averages in commercial segments increased by 65% when soup was part of an order. Use creative combinations, customizable meal deals and more to enhance offerings and boost profits.
Campbell’s Foodservice is here to serve you in your mission to delight guests. Explore our products to get started >>
Source: The NPD Group CREST ® , Average Eater Check for Paid Occasions, latest two years (ending September 2017)