With consumers’ continued interest in better-for-you fare, it’s not surprising that seafood is becoming more prominent on menus. According to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian report, 58% of consumers say they consider seafood to be healthier than beef or pork, while 43% say they consider it to be healthier than chicken or turkey.
For operators who want to harness this trend and increase their seafood sales, one surefire way to do so is by making the menu options more approachable. Oftentimes, seafood menu items can feature ingredients that diners are unfamiliar with, so menuing comfort food-style, familiar options such as beer-battered fish and chips or fish tacos can be an area of opportunity.
One of the biggest reasons diners choose seafood over meat when they dine out is to satisfy a craving for a particular seafood item, and with craveable options available, diners come back looking for that specific dish again and again. In other words, consistent preparation is key, and there are a few ways to menu fish in approachable, delicious ways.
As a meat alternative
Thirty-nine percent of consumers say the reason they’d choose a seafood dish over meat is because it’s healthier than meat options, according to the Technomic report. Operators looking to appeal to health-conscious diners can menu familiar dishes, using fish as the protein instead of more traditional meat. Fish tacos are one great example and can be made with any number of different species, from tilapia to shrimp to halibut.
At Bottom Bar and Grill in Fort Worth, Texas, diners can enjoy the Halibut Tacos entree, which features halibut battered in Bass ale, topped with roasted garlic chipotle vinaigrette, cabbage, shredded jack and cheddar cheeses and pico de gallo, served with guacamole, sour cream, Spanish rice and black beans.
Comfort food options
Fish may not be a diner’s first choice when they think of comfort food, but it can be. Fish and chips, beer battered fish and tuna melts can all be great options for consumers who want a somewhat indulgent, comforting meal but don’t want meat. According to the Technomic report, the top three flavors consumers want most with their fish dishes are buttery, savory and herbal. These flavors all fit perfectly within the comfort food theme.
Menuing familiar fish
Finally, offering straightforward recipes that are approachable and easy can be a great way to pique the interest of diners who are health conscious and want to eat more fish. Technomic’s report shows that 68% of consumers are likely to order salmon, compared to 46% who would order cod and 45% who would order tilapia. Choosing popular fish species is a great way to get people to choose a fish dish, and because salmon, cod and tilapia are versatile fish, operators can menu them with any number of preparation styles and sides.
Getting diners to choose fish is a matter of making it more appealing—and in many instances, this can be simply by making it more familiar. By using it as a meat alternative, menuing it in comfort food preparations and choosing fish that diners recognize, operators are likely to see a boost in interest.
This post is sponsored by High Liner Foods