As restaurant operators head out of summer and into fall, seasonal offerings are top of mind. Cooler weather brings the opportunity to offer new and exciting flavors, but also gives operators the chance to deliver a fun and entertaining experience with LTOs. For instance, Oktoberfest is the perfect opportunity to showcase fun happy hour specials and snacks. According to Technomic’s recent Flavor Consumer Trend Report, 37% of consumers are more likely to try a new flavor or menu item if it features seasonal ingredients. And 32% say their flavor preferences tend to change depending on the season, with those numbers higher among younger diners ages 18-34. Finally, 45% say they are more likely to try an item if It contains seasonal ingredients, and 44% of younger consumers say their preferences change depending on the season.
For operators, tuning into these two points—demand for seasonal ingredients and seasonal flavors—will be key for planning seasonal LTOs that drive sales.
Incorporating seasonal flavor across the menu
Planning seasonal LTOs are a great way to get diners excited to come in. In fact, Technomic’s Flavor report found that 35% of consumers are more likely to try a new flavor or item if it is only on the menu for a limited time. So,when it comes to promotion, operators may want to specifically call out that the dish will only be there for a short time.
When planning for what to add to the menu, consider any special events coming up, as well as popular seasonal flavors or cravings diners may have. For instance, end of summer LTOs could feature street fair favorites such as funnel cakes or churros, while an Oktoberfest LTO could incorporate soft pretzels served with artisanal mustards or other dips. J&J Snack Foods’ SUPERPRETZEL® Soft Pretzels are perfect for this, and the brand’s Brauhaus Pretzel® or Bavarian products, including sticks, rolls and buns are great for using in other themed menu items. Sandwiches offered with a soft pretzel bun or roll become instantly seasonal without having to change the entire menu or add a lot of labor to the back of house.
Balancing innovation with low-labor needs
It’s important for operators to both draw in customers and ensure that orders are fulfilled. In today’s labor market, this has been especially challenging as restaurants are operating with fewer staff members than they might normally have onsite. Finding versatile, low-labor menu solutions is key in this setting—seasonal LTO products from J&J Snack Foods are the answer. Eliminate the need for making dipping sauces from scratch by offering Pretzel Fillers®—soft pretzels stuffed with delectable fillings such as jalapeno and cheese, cheddar cheese, pizza or sweet cream cheese. Perfect as a seasonal option, offer up Pumpkin Stuffed Pretzels, available for a limited time only.
Incorporating seasonal flavors into the menu doesn’t have to mean overhauling the entire menu. Consider consumers’ cravings—seasonal flavors like pumpkin are perfect for fall, and baked goods, such as Mini Bundt Cakes, are great for cold weather when diners want something comforting and familiar. Best of all, operators can find everything they need in one convenient place—J&J Snack Foods. To learn more about available seasonal LTOs, visit www.jjsnackfoodservice.com.
This post is sponsored by J&J Snack Foods