What Will Your Menu Look Like In 2016?
Let The Data Tell You
Shifting menu trends in the industry mean that you must continually evaluate and update your menu. How do you update your menu and remain profitable if you don't know which items are most profitable and in-demand and which ones you should cut?
We’re forecasting what restaurant menu trends are for 2016, and we’re providing the tools you need to evaluate your menu on a daily basis.
2016 Menu Trends
Here are 3 trends you need to dish out in 2016 to ensure your menu delivers.
Now serving ... local
From farmers markets to artisanal cheeses, it seems we can’t get away from the fact that customers are demanding locally sourced food. In the last 10 years, farmers markets have grown 350% and the trend has gone viral. What’s more shocking: Over 50% of consumers prefer local over organic, according to Mintel. Whether it’s hyper-local ingredients such as herbs and garden-grown vegetables or sustainable seafood and locally sourced meats, the lust for local foods is widespread.
Add This To Your Menu In 2016 - Restaurateurs are fielding more questions than ever before about where their food comes from. Locally grown foods aren’t just for farmers markets anymore. In 2016, guests will find them on your menu.
Here’s what you need:
- Locally Sourced Meats/Seafood - Knowing where food came from and how it was treated is important. Locally sourced meats and seafood allow your guests to feel better about what they put in their bodies and about your restaurant.
- Locally Grown Produce - As an ingredient or a main vegetarian dish, produce that was grown free of pesticides and steroids is what your guests are looking for. Bonus points if the produce is “hyper-local,” as in you grew it in your restaurant.
Now serving ... healthier options
It should come as no surprise that if consumers are demanding locally sourced foods they’re also more health conscious than ever before. They want their food to taste good and be good for them. One word for your menu and the healthy food trend: fresh. What does it imply? Real food.
Add This To Your Menu In 2016 - Diners are focusing on foods that help them maintain energy, feel fuller longer and stay healthy. Menu developers are responding by adding fruits, vegetables and grains to the menu.
Here’s what you need on your menu:
- Healthy Kids Menus - Mom and dad are focusing on healthier options, which means chicken fingers and fries aren’t the only option on the table anymore. When developing your kid’s menu, ask yourself: would mom or dad eat this, too?
- Protein - You likely already have meat on your menu, so now it’s just a matter of how you present it. In the last five years, menu mentions of protein have risen 67%. Adding “protein” to your menu is an easy way to capitalize on the positive connotation.
- Vegetables - We’re not just talking about carrots and peas here, hybrid vegetables are gaining traction. Think root vegetables such as beets, cauliflower, cabbage and of course, kale. Use them as a side dish or get creative and make a beet pizza.
- Natural Ingredients - Gluten-free, artisanal and even vegan options are in the mainstream now. Your restaurant will benefit by serving up dishes that are created using natural, minimally processed, ingredients.
Now serving ... breakfast
Mom always said breakfast was the most important meal of the day. But for the savvy restaurateur, it’s also the most important meal for your bottom line. The National Restaurant Association says 72% of US adults wish that restaurants served breakfast all day long. Breakfastarians - those who crave breakfast morning, noon and night - have been on the rise in the last year, and the trend will only continue. In fact, the restaurant industry is booming, and it has breakfastarians to thank - it’s growing traffic by nearly 60% nationwide.
Add This To Your Menu In 2016 - The all-day breakfast trend is a great opportunity for your restaurant to get creative. You can also use little tidbits from other trends to really shine.
Here’s what you need on your menu:
- All Day Breakfast – Enough said.
- Ethnic Breakfast Dishes - How about Mexican breakfast burritos?
- Healthful Breakfast Options - Whole wheat wraps, flaxseed smoothies, egg white omelets
Analyzing Your Menu In Real Time
To understand how effective a menu item is, we've created a formula (based on our experiences working with 3,000+ local merchants) for evaluating restaurant menu items and their benefit to your business, in terms of creating loyal repeat customers.
- Volume (Orders): How many orders does each menu item sell? Obviously, selling more of each item is always preferable.
- Time On Menu: How long have you had the item on your menu consistently? The longer a menu item exists, the more likely it is to be a product of loyal customers and that could mean you’re looking at a signature dish.
- Menu Item Profit Margin: All things being equal, you’d prefer to sell your higher priced items. You can use margin (price - cost) to focus on your most profitable items.
Keep In Mind: Add ons like appetizers, sides and desserts should be measured separately than entrees or main dishes. Beverages should be measured separate from food.
Benefits Of The Menu Score
The result of this formula will give each menu item an index score, most between 30 and 200. There tends to be a lot of variability in menu items. But that's okay! No insight is wasted when it comes to building customer loyalty.
- A score of 100 is your average menu item
- A menu item that scores 123 will be 23% more valuable to your business than an average menu item
- A menu item that scores an 87 will be 13% less valuable to you than an average menu item
What Can You Do With This Information?
Knowing is only half the battle, right? Now that you have an in-depth understanding of how your menu items perform, you can start making better business decisions that lead to more profitable menus.
But that's not all ... these insights give you what you need to know to do 3 things today:
- Train Your Staff: Improve staff performance when you train your staff on which items have the highest index scores and are best for the restaurant (and them!) Increased sales and increased repeat business means increased tips, right?!
- Provide Profitable Recommendations: If you offer two fish choices, a striped bass that scores a 130 and a salmon that scores a 92, you can have your servers steer guests towards the bass.
- Determine Pricing: When considering a pricing change, instead of just raising all of your prices by a dollar or 5%, consider raising them on your highest performing items slightly - guests will barely notice and still continue to order them.
How Can Upserve Help Me Use My Menu To Grow Sales?
Not everyone wants to do math - we get that. The good news is that we have an automated solution to your manual fears.
- Menu Intelligence: Using the Upserve platform, you can learn which items bring guests back when you can see where your revenue comes from and what your loyal regulars are ordering.
- Average Ticket: Are you losing money on certain dishes? Find out where the holes are in your bucket when you see average ticket amounts from your entire day's sales.
- Valuable Insights: All it takes is a small change to yield big results. Whether it's pairing two menu items or changing the price on an item, we can reveal which decisions are more profitable to your restaurant menu.