Look, whether you love avocado toast or not, the trend came and conquered. Those restaurants that were able to cash in on the quick, millennial food made serious profits off a loaf of bread, so it’s important to take advantage of trends wherever you can.
Adopting trends can often trigger a question of integrity. Some restaurants steer away from popular options because they don’t align with their brand voice. We’re not here to say that you have to do anything that disrupts your branding, but we believe that every business owner should be aware of the following trends.
When you include more options in your menu, you open your business up to other consumers without disrupting your current base. Any time you have the opportunity to reel in more business, you should pay attention. Whether you attract them or not — your competitors will.
Look Around You
Sometimes, the easiest way to see what trends are paying off in your community is to look at what your competitors are doing. Sure, you don’t want to copy them, and there’s no reason you have to adopt the same trends.
However, you can learn a lot by watching how their customers respond to the changes they invoke. If their sudden changes trigger a surge of new customers, then maybe it’s time for you to mix up your menu, too.
It’s All in the Details
Once you decide you want to branch out, you may have a few dishes you can’t wait to pop on the menu. If these resonate with your current options, they will be an easy sell.
However, if they seem like a stretch, remember that you can always hone them in with the right description. Focus on highlighting ingredients found in your new and current menu options. Situate your guests so they feel comfortable trying your new dishes, or point out the awesome elements that make them unique.
Only you know whether your guests are coming to experiment or chow down on some comfort food, so do what makes the most sense for your business.
These descriptions are also important because more and more guests are checking out virtual menus before visiting restaurants. If you can update your menu online to include the specials you plan to run that day, you may have guests visiting just to try those dishes.
If you’re onboarding new ingredients or health food options, always make sure to advertise those changes online. Most of the customers who have strict dietary needs will check out restaurant menus before visiting to ensure ample options. By adding a few dishes to your menu, you may be able to lure them in and keep your regulars excited.
Some restauranteurs may be wary of adding certain options to their menu because they think they’re part of a trend that will pass. While this can be true from time to time, trends are often here to stay. If anything, they’ll arrive and reign for a few years before losing their crown to another fad, but you could lose out on new customers if you refuse to accommodate these trends.
Moreover, while these trendy items may offer a luxurious option to some consumers, they could be necessary to others. With more and more people struggling with celiac disease or avoiding dairy, alternative options are becoming more and more necessary.
These options maybe a little more expensive for the restauranteur purchasing them, but customers will happily pay a markup. The important thing is that they remain available for consumers when they need them.
Everyone says they want to eat better, but they rarely do so, given the opportunity. Nevertheless, it’s essential to keep those options open for the right people, and an easy way to win new business is to offer healthier options on your kid’s menu. When parents see that your restaurant has smart options for their children, they will feel more at ease visiting your restaurant more often.
Similarly, by offering fun, healthy options for adults, you may win some new fans. Consider offering “super” options like tonics, juices, and vitamin-rich beverages. Any opportunity to list “superfoods” like acai or flaxseed will incentivize your customer’s extra spend. Having a rich list of non-alcoholic drinks besides your usual bar selection will also attract “wellness” lovers.
That being said, if you can design a cocktail menu around options like kombucha, ginger, or turmeric, you may be able to steer your customers away from their usual beer routine. Using quality ingredients, you can elevate your cocktail selection and upsell your traditional spirits and well options.
Do It For the Gram
At the end of the day, if you’re creating “trendy” options, you’re going to attract “trendy” people. The good news is that when your food looks great, people will want to post it. That means free press for your business and a ton of daily impressions for your brand.
If you want to harness this kind of attention, you may wish to design specials that are irresistibly “postable.” Whether that means creating an impossible stack of pancakes or a beautiful array of seasonal fruit, your social media connoisseurs will thank you.
How to Get the Word Out
Incorporating new trends into your daily menu is an excellent way to rebrand without upending your entire business. When you create daily specials, you get a chance to try out new recipes and gauge your customers’ interest in different fads.
Running a campaign that allows you to either show off those new products or test out a rebrand can be a great way to take this one step further. Many businesses turn to grocery store advertising to let their customers know they’re mixing it up.
With the right supermarket advertisement, any restaurant can make a splash in their community and remind their neighbors they mean business.