This time has posed a set of challenges unlike any other. We wanted to offer some simple tips that can help you reimagine your menu for the moment, and sustain your business in a new age of eating.
Many restaurants have found success in the menu and operational changes implemented over the past few months. So here are some of the strategies that operators say they intend to keep in place for the long term.
MENU EVALUATION If you haven’t already, it’s time to make sure your entire menu can travel well. If some key items just won’t, build a separate to-go menu for items that will.
PACKAGING Ensure packaging practices maintain the integrity of your menu items (pack hot and cold separately, vent fry containers). If your menu item requires six different to-go packages, consider whether it makes sense with your budget.
DELIVERY Consider either bringing delivery in-house or pricing third-party delivery outfits to determine if adding delivery is viable. Remember that 44% of consumers say contactless delivery (employees not handing food directly to them) would make them feel safer when ordering takeout or delivery from a restaurant, so be sure to communicate how your contact-free system works.
WEBSITE Right now, your online presence is more important than ever. Ensure every menu (to-go, dine-in, meal kit) is easily accessible on your homepage, along with any relevant changes (hours, new services like delivery or new bundled meal options).
SOCIAL Be sure to announce any menu or operational changes in social outlets. It’s a good excuse to make your way into your followers’ feeds and consideration sets.
INSIDE, OUTSIDE & TO-GO Using a QR menu link at the table eliminates waste and potential contamination from paper menus. Posting printed menus and/or QR links in windows or on menu boards can allow guests to safely browse outside. Don’t forget to include paper menus or QR-coded receipts with to-go orders, especially if they have changed recently.
UTILITY INGREDIENTS Using flexible, high-quality ingredients in several places across your menu can help keep costs down and ensure LTOs and specials are profitable.
Frozen prepared soups are delicious on their own! They are also extremely versatile and can be cooked down to create great tasting SAUCES, or used as a SPEED SCRATCH INGREDIENT in other dishes. Learn More
BUNDLES Over 70% of consumers are interested in “family meal” bundles with mix-and-match options. While meal kits are novel and flexible, some consumers prefer avoiding prep altogether. Don’t forget high-margin menu items like drinks and labor-free snacks.
MEAL KITS Over 60% of consumers are interested in meal kits. Determine which of your existing meals could be broken down with simple prep steps for your guests to enjoy maximum freshness. A take-home build-your-own pizza bar is a great example.
SNACKING KITS As consumers are spending more time at home, offering curated snack kits can be a great way to drive business at non-traditional mealtimes. Bundles that meet sweet or savory afternoon snack cravings can be a great add-on to lunch specials, too. Think cookie, popcorn, nachos or hot chocolate snack kits.
Guests are interested in signature ingredients from the restaurants they love. So you can satisfy the demand and add meaningful revenue by packing and selling on-hand ingredients and offering revenue-boosting prepared snacks.
Sources: ConAgra Foodservice, Datassentials FoodBytes March2020, QSR May 2020, Datassential, “COVID-19 Report 29: Operators Dig In,” July 31, 2020.