How to design a menu to match our changing lifestyles

Commercial

Appealing to families, children and customers of different generations is a balancing act. However, the one constant is that food trends follow lifestyle trends. In addition to introducing on-trend flavours to the menu, some operators add innovative touches by tapping into lifestyle trends, tweaking their service styles and making menu changes that appeal to their target audiences. 

Here are some insights and statistics that can help you stay on top of these changes and design a menu to match.

Make healthier menu options available

Gen Y customers (27%) have the most affinity with takeaway food and drinks. When it comes to snacks, 15% of customers opt for more healthy away-from-home snack choices and 22% choose a balance of indulgence and healthier offerings. When parents buy a new brand of food, 75% of them are looking for options that work well on the go. Whether it’s takeaway from a restaurant or a convenience store, healthier snacks are an effective way to capture busy customers.

Capture their attention with technology

Digital menus make it easy to add menu items, promote specials and feature enticing images of food and drinks. In-store and drive-thru consumers express a strong interest in digital screens that confirm their orders. Additionally, up-to-date menu boards, ordering systems and mobile payment options offer competitive advantages. 

Promote family-friendly foods and appeal to tiny diners

While 80% of operators say families help build repeat business, only 30% of operators actively market to families. Promotable foods include healthier choice breakfast items such as yogurt or juice-based drinks and vegetable sides with kid appeal. Parents agree that kids’ menus could use a boost. In fact, 50% of children enjoy eating adventurous cuisines as well as mainstream ones.

Parents are looking for new and innovative menu items, with 72% agreeing that they strongly encourage their kids to try new foods.

Children’s palates are often more sophisticated than most people realise, so you can include more choices for kids while still appealing to their parents. While chicken strips appear on 60% of kids’ menus in foodservice operations, other choices such as angus beef and fresh tuna appeal to children as well. Similarly, alternative grains have kid appeal. Approximately half the children who have tried bulgur wheat and two-thirds of children who have had couscous enjoyed the experience. Designing new kids’ menus is not without its challenges, but it is also an area of opportunity that can increase traffic.

Drinks are a bevy of opportunity

Snacking and beverage-only occasions are most common among Millennials and Gen Z customers. Beverages can energise menus with creative juice hybrids like Sjora or added flavourings such as peach or mint. 

For coffee drinks, specialised milks or seasonal flavourings add boosts of flavour and protein. Alternative milks also appeal to health conscious customers. Since 2011, alternative milks including hazelnut, almond and rice milk have experienced 60% menu growth.

If you’re looking for a way to diversify your beverages and offer a product that appeals to the more health conscious consumer, consider the CoolPro commercial drinks dispenser. With a choice of Nestea iced tea and Sjora fruit juice blend, it’s the perfect way to increase profits while appealing to our changing lifestyles. Learn more here, and sign up for a free 30-day trial for your business.

Statistics in this article are sourced from Datassential.

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