Small bites, big profits

Brought to you by the Almond Board of California.

Snacking is on the rise as Americans continue to abandon the traditional three-meals-a-day routine. According to the 2014 Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report from Chicago-based Technomic, 51% of those polled say they snack at least twice a day, up from 48% in 2012. And 31% of consumers say they’re snacking more frequently than they were two years ago.

One of the growing snacking opportunities is at the bar. But while complimentary bowls of nuts or popcorn might have sufficed a decade ago, consumers now seek flavorful and more exciting snacks when enjoying their favorite cocktails. To meet this need, some operators have started menuing “bar bites”—small, bite-sized items packed with flavor and creativity. These range from fresh takes on classic pub food, such as fries and sliders, to flavorful ethnic creations, such as tacos or baos.

By menuing bar bites, operators can showcase their culinary chops while boosting sales at the bar, since bar bites are easily marketed as shareable items and versatile enough to pair well with different beverages. In addition, since portions are smaller and generally less expensive than a full appetizer or entrée, consumers are more likely to try the more adventurous flavors that bar bites often incorporate.

Here’s a sampling of small bites currently popping up on bar menus.

R Lounge
New York City
Crispy Vegetable Dumplings: sweet chili sauce, teriyaki; $12

Los Angeles
Baby Torpedo Onion Panisse: Meyer lemon mustard, hibiscus onion, cilantro; $8

The Gallows
Corn Doggs: coleslaw, pickled red onion, whole grain mustard; $13

Benny’s Chop House
Goat Cheese Flatbread: artichoke, arugula, balsamic; $9

Flyte World Dining and Wine
Pork Croquette: green apple, dijonnaise; $10


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