Foodservice Updates is designed to help foodservice operators keep on top of all the industry news and provides tips for keeping business running smooth. We endeavor to provide the latest tips and solutions to keep you in the know.
Make the case for restaurant meals
Inflation is a worry for nine out of 10 adults, according to a survey taken recently by the online research firm Momentive for The New York Times. As guests scrutinize more of their expenses, discretionary restaurant spending is a natural place for them to cut back. But on the plus side, demand persists for restaurant food – it may just look different for a while. As John Church, co-head of HSBC Bank’s food and beverage unit, told The Food Institute, “Consumers are likely to trade down during inflationary times as they will want to continue to enjoy some level of out-of-home dining experience.” Restaurant operators may just have to double down on strategies to get guests in the door. Right now, focusing on providing value can help. Offer combo meals that emphasize cost savings – like a family meal deal that may even provide some leftovers for lunch the next day. Create a sense of urgency with guests by creating a rolling line-up of limited-time offers. Give people a reason to return by asking them if they want to receive special offers, then following up with deals related to foods they have enjoyed from you in the past. Take a page from your pandemic playbook and package up an experience – a cooking class or wine tasting, for example – that makes restaurant food or drink feel like a worthwhile outing or a go-to choice for someone looking to give a special gift. When you offer those experiences, talk them up on social media to inspire guests looking for memorable ways to gather with friends and family.
Does your loyalty program give as much back to you as it does to your guests? While restaurant loyalty programs once relied on discounts to get guests to return, times are changing. To be sure, you want to use your loyalty program to track guest tastes and buying patterns and translate that information into action. But you can also take your program a step further by harnessing it as an experience you can provide guests. As operators struggle with inflation and supply shortages, providing a memorable guest experience can be a superpower – and can help keep you afloat in these challenging times. How can you use your program to drive people to you? Tap into guests’ fear of missing out by offering an exclusive VIP menu to members. The loyalty program Thanx is helping one operator offer a hidden menu for their highest-spending loyalty customers – it unlocks after a guest spends $200 in 90 days, according to a Nation’s Restaurant News report. The hidden menu can include fan-favorite menu items, be used to test limited-time offers, or simply offer items that are easier to offer to a smaller audience (and can help a restaurant manage inventory more efficiently). All of these potential offerings can create a sense of exclusivity that provides the extra nudge guests need to order from your restaurant right now.
How to Maximize Your Menu with Less
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