Keeping your food purchasing focused, efficient and on-trend helps you meet the needs, desires and changing tastes of your customers. Tap into these purchasing insights—ranging from healthful snacking to sustainable seafood to global grilling—to keep your customers satisfied and your business on track.
This week we focus on growing your revenue and important food trends. Next week we’ll focus on health & wellness as well as some great tips to make your menus more effective.
Grow Revenue in Lean Years
In tough economic times, revenue growth is still possible with a few key strategies. For instance, experiment with in- season produce that allows you to rotate your menu with the seasons, thereby holding customer interest and keeping food costs down. Keep core customer favorites the same, and tweak offerings with seasonal menu ideas to keep your menu fresh. A classic potato-and-leek soup can transition from vichyssoise in the summer to incorporate cauliflower in the fall and artichoke in the winter.
Retain Repeat Customers
Attracting new customers is essential, but so is encouraging loyal customers to return more frequently. Build loyalty with quality menu items, such as steak hoagies with slow-roasted brisket. Or order a few unusual or special products to help you build signature dishes that will instill customer loyalty. Encourage repeat business with simple incen- tives—to keep customers coming back.
Capture the Lunchtime Dash
Clever purchasing decisions can help you compete for your share of time-strapped lunch diners’ business. Offer items designed for to-go orders, such as individually wrapped pizzas, bread sticks and bagel sandwiches. Keep interesting condiments on hand (pesto mayonnaise, sun-dried tomato pesto or cilantro pesto) to let customers quickly customize traditional favorites.
Develop Children’s Menus
Market to kids and their parents with menu options that focus on fun, variety and health. Appeal to younger children with foods such as safari animal-shaped chicken nuggets from Koch Foods and McCain’s smiley-face potatoes. Include kid-friendly offerings such as cheese sticks, fresh fruit, applesauce and Yogurt Smoothies.
Target Sales with Category Management
Make use of Category Management expertise to take the guesswork out of ordering packaged products such as cereal and snacks. Category Management uses trend data, market research, demographic information and legislative hot buttons to identify best sellers, so you wind up with the most popular, profitable mix.
Fire up the Global Grill
Stock up on ingredients such as cilantro, epazote (an herb used in Latin dishes) and lemongrass to add global flair to dishes from Middle Eastern kebabs to Southeast Asian satay, letting you capitalize on consumer interest in grilling with ethnic flavor twists.
Support Sustainable Seafood
With global seafood consumption at a historic high, this valuable resource is in danger of depletion. By removing at-risk species from your menu and purchasing seafood certified by the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), you can help endangered species recover and still offer a wide array of seafood.
Encourage Sensible Snacking
More than half (55 percent) of consumers snack at least once a day, and 35 percent are looking for more healthy op- tions, according to foodservice researcher Technomic. Afternoon snacking has transitioned from a guilty pleasure to an accepted lifestyle choice. Provide options for healthful snacks with 200 or fewer calories plus fiber and protein for customers looking for mid-morning and mid-afternoon energy boosts. Examples include Sabra To Go Hummus and Kellogg’s Special K™ Protein Meal Bars.
Capitalize on Sweet Treats
The Food Channel reports that the No. 1 dessert trend is ice cream and other frozen desserts, with vanilla remaining the favorite flavor. Research from Mintel International Group found that 70 percent of men prefer plain ice-cream flavors like vanilla and chocolate, while 74 percent of women choose ice creams containing chocolate or candy bits. Bite-sized and mini desserts are a top menu trend as well. “Minis take care of a multitude of concerns: value, calories, variety of flavors and shareability,” says Kay Logsdon, Senior Editor of The Food Channel.
About entegra Procurement Services®
Entegra Procurement Services provides customized procurement and distribution services for food and related supplies for multi-unit clients in the hospitality and non-commercial industries. As part of a global purchasing network with annual purchases that exceed $5 billion, entegra uses some of the most competitive pricing in the industry for our customers. We have the ability to impact not only the cost of goods our clients pay, but also the level of service that they receive from our supplier partners. www.entegraPS.com
. For additional information on the entegra Program, please contact Dan.Richardson@entegraPS.com