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With all the emphasis on healthy eating, it would seem that consumers would be ordering more seafood at restaurants. Fish is generally lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than red meat and many species boast a generous dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. While fish is among the most popular foods ordered as part of a healthy/light meal, the reality is shares of total seafood entree servings by type have remained generally unchanged over time, according to consumer research by NPD Crest for the National Fisheries Institute.
With farm-to-table menus a priority for both chefs and diners, vegetables can no longer be an afterthought on the plate. In fact, 80% of consumers believe it's important for restaurants to feature more produce, according to research from Datassential presented during the Produce Marketing Foodservice Conference in July. Here are some other findings:
A recent Technomic study found that healthy meal options for kids are more important to parents than expansive kids’ menus. Combined with the current issues around children and obesity, updating your menu offering for young guests may seem daunting. Several industry programs have not only been created to help operators approach these issues, but are celebrating successes. Let’s take a look at how these initiatives are taking shape on menus: Kids LiveWell Program, National Restaurant Association
While a number of recent studies indicate that menu labeling has little effect on diners’ menu choices, a report from NPD Group may offer a glimpse into the reason why. According to NPD, only one in four consumers say they eat healthy when dining out, while the majority admits a desire to treat themselves when at a restaurant.
Researchers for Nutritional Journal recently conducted a study examining caloric intake by food purchase location—store, quickservice restaurant, full-service restaurant, school, etc.—and food source. The first-of-its-kind study brought forward data that suggests that restaurants, schools and stores each have a role to play in curbing the current obesity epidemic, allowing for more effective targeting of policy interventions aimed at calorie reduction.
Refreshing flavors, light textures and heat-relieving treats are cooling off menus across the country this summer. Beating the heat is the name of the game, and the incorporation of fresh, seasonal ingredients and eclectic flavor profiles in everything from iced tea to ice cream has consumers salivating rather than sweating. Beverages
Choosing small plates offers diners the opportunity to try a variety of menu items and flavors—which, according to a recent report by Technomic, is what 70% of consumers are looking for in shareable dining. But they’re not looking for pared down versions of entrees or to order off of the appetizer menu. Shareable meals have gotten serious for many consumers—they’re hungry for new ingredients, bolder flavors and global influences.
Smart operators are paying more attention to the beverage side of the menu. Today's customers crave more variety, innovation and flavor—in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. When concepts satisfy these cravings, they can build traffic, increase profits and stand out from the crowd.
Want to sell more hard cider? Then stock selections at both ends of the price spectrum, according to a new report. The boom in sales of hard cider is being fueled by what the Rabobank, a European financial institution, has dubbed the “hybrid consumer,” a shopper who vacillates between cheap and super-premium selections. In a new report on global hard cider sales, Rabobank says that bipolar buyer as most likely to be a woman under age 30. The study notes that occasions determine if the hybrid consumer opts for value or quality.
If you didn’t get a raise last year, ask the boss why you were excluded from what People Report says was the vast majority of salaried restaurant employees who got a bump in base pay during 2012. At the very least, it may help your chances in 2013, when salaries are expected by the human-resources research company to rise by an average of 2.7 percent. Almost nine out of 10 corporate-office employees—85 percent—had their base salary raised in 2012, and 74 percent of restaurant managers saw an increase, according to People Report.
Globally inspired ingredients are showing up across the menu, from appetizers to cocktails to side dishes. Updating sides with new flavors and textures is a simple but profitable way to capitalize on this growing trend.
July is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday (July 22nd this year) is National Ice Cream Day, both officially designated by President Reagan back in 1984. From single scoop cones to drinkable desserts, operators are offering Americans many tempting ways to indulge this summer.