Which came first—the antibiotic-free chicken or the cage-free egg?
If you ask consumers, the answer is neither. They, in fact, view themselves as the catalysts for making menus “cleaner.” That’s according to the findings of a new study released by Hill+Knowlton Strategies during the South by Southwest technology and entertainment conference taking place this week in Austin, Texas. Read on to see what health-minded restaurateurs need to know.
Restaurants are just going along, say consumers
While patting themselves on the back, consumers are less likely to give restaurants much credit for bringing healthier options to menus, particularly in the QSR sector. Most consumers (40 percent) think fast food restaurants are adding health to the menu because they have no choice but to follow the trend. Nearly as many (38 percent) think it's because customers are demanding it. Only 4 percent think restaurant leaders are taking a more healthful approach to menus because it’s the right thing to do.
Restaurants need to tell a better story about health
The data suggests that restaurants may need to do more to explain their motivation for menuing cleaner, better-for-you items, especially since those moves align with what consumers say they want. Indeed, while taste is the prime driver of visits, some 85 percent of consumers say knowing a fast food restaurant embraced such initiatives would make them more likely to purchase its food. A further 84 percent said it’s reasonable to pay more for meals made with quality ingredients such as these.
Some of the more senior members of the team smile at the junior staff who are excited to uncover an interesting trend in “eatertainment” or the latest single-ingredient concept. We try not to be condescending when we suggest they do some research by looking at past issues of Restaurant Business or old Technomic top chain reports before calling it the next big thing.