Shifts in consumer dining habits and preferences have been a major focus for restaurant operators navigating market recovery—and changes in how diners define good value are some of the most important. According to Technomic’s Oct. 2021 Consumer Food Trends report, nearly one third of consumers say their definition of value at restaurants and other foodservice operators has changed over the last two years.
Among consumers, a number of attributes play a role in the value equation: Seventy-nine percent of consumers say taste is among the most important aspects of creating good value for food and beverages at LSRs, while 71% say the same of food quality and 69% of freshness, according to Technomic’s ConsumerFood Trends report.
These qualities are crucial to keep in mind as many operators seek ways to reduce costs behind the scenes. Here are some best practices for restaurateurs seeking to increase value without undercutting the bottom line.
One strategy involves riding the wave of new trends catching consumers’ attention—especially for the 40% who strongly associate menu variety with good value, according to Technomic’s ConsumerFood Trends report. Seasonal offerings and LTOs can come in handy here to drive hype without altering the core menu. Load a funnel cake with seasonal toppings such as caramelized cinnamon apples in the autumn, for example, or top mini chocolate Bundt cakes with crushed candy canes and a dark chocolate drizzle during the holiday season.
Cashing in on the snacks and small plates trend is also a great opportunity for menu innovation, as smaller portions offer a margin-friendly way encourage trial among diners. Try offering new flavors on the apps and shareables menu, for example, or promote bite-sized snacks and desserts as a pick-me-up between meals.
Menuing new and limited-time dishes can work in tandem with efforts to streamline the menu and reduce prep work in the kitchen. By using customizable, high-quality ingredients as a starting point, operators can add excitement to the menu with ingredients they already have on hand.
Turning to fan-favorite brands can be helpful here: According to Technomic’s State of the Menu 2021 report, 37% of best-in-class LTOs have brand mentions, indicating that consumers are particularly likely to find brand names in menu item titles or descriptions appealing. Brand names are an effective way to enhance diners’ sense of value by communicating quality and by increasing confidence that they’ll like the dish if they order it.
Look for versatile ingredients from brands diners already know and love. SUPERPRETZEL® Pretzel Fries, for example, are endlessly customizable with sweet or savory dips and toppings: Serve with taco toppings for a satisfying shareable, with a warm crab dip for an upscale appeal or with a rich cheesecake dip for a snackable dessert. OREO® Churros bring the charm of the iconic cookie to a new format to serve in bites, with dips or a with a variety of toppings. LUIGI’S® Italian ices or Minute Maid® frozen lemonade offer the perfect base for a number of happy-hour concoctions that can be ready in seconds.
For any season, promotion or consumer base, J&J Snack Foods sets the standard for high-quality, easy-to-prepare snacks and desserts that diners love. To learn more about ways to craft high-value offerings with products from brands beloved by operators and consumers alike, click here.
*Minute Maid is a registered trademark of the Coca-Cola Company.
**OREO is a registered trademark of Mondeléz International group, used under license.
This post is sponsored by J&J Snack Foods