60 percent of restaurants shrank their menu since the start of the pandemic with an average reduction of 10 percent per menu*.
Inconsistencies in supply chain, price inflation and surging labor costs have led to menu cleansing across all segments. Some ingredients are more critical than others when considering a trim. What are some factors to remember that can also be leveraged for your future menu growth when the world gets closer to a new normal?
1. Count On Sauces To Carry The Crave –
Look for sauces that can be applied in multiple applications from an entree to appetizer and as a dipping sauce option. Fully Prepared Marinara Sauce is a good example. It improves kitchen labor efficiency and assures consistency, while simplifying ketchup prep.
Canned tomatoes and tomato-based sauces are plant-based and rich in lycopene, a nutrient that your customers know as an antioxidant. Cleanse your menu while offering a health forward ingredient that boosts immunity.
2. Double Down On Proven… And Emerging Winners –
Beyond burgers, chicken, fries, and biscuits are some surprising winners that withstood the pandemic. At least one item should be plant-based and call out ketogenic menu items on your menu as they increased 63% on menus between 2020 and 2021*!
Chicken Parm Strips with Marinara Dipping Sauce
Another tactic is to apply a proven trend worthy winner in a new way that is sure to create excitement. Chicken parmesan is unique to fast food, so add a marinara dipping sauce on the side to generate excitement, while plating the dish in a format that has longer hold times.
3. Ramp Up Your LTOs –
Technomic reports, that among the Top 500 chains, there was an 11% jump in the number of LTOs during the first half of 2021 compared to the last half of 2020. If your menu got a trim, leverage your ingredients for more cravable LTOs. Consumers first eat with their eyes! Leverage those culinary creations for Instagram-worth dishes that bring traffic back to your table. The secret is leveraging a unique application of an ingredient into a handheld, side, or snack they’ve never seen before. For sure fire success, add bacon and consider a family size version for your take-out business!
Chick-Fil-A’s Honey Pepper Pimiento Chicken Sandwich, $5.49
Freddy’s Jalapeno Jack Steakburger, $5.69
Pal’s Bar-B-Dog with Slaw, $2.79
*Datassential, State of The Menu, Aug. 2021