Diners today are looking for unique menu options and innovation that meets their needs.
In the food service industry, this means catering to them and providing them with a broad menu.
In this article, we encourage you to consider a balanced menu to attract more diners.
By offering a mix of both healthy and not-so-healthy options you provide enough choices for all of your customers.
Your modern day diners often look for wholesome food. They also may follow specific dietary regimens such as vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. Your diners may also have health concerns like heart problems, allergies or high blood pressure.
For these folks, you want a more balanced menu to meet their needs. Here’s how to do it.
According to the National Restaurant Association, more than seven in 10 adults are trying to eat healthier at restaurants than they did two years ago.
Because of this, you’ll find that your diners are paying more attention to nutrition content than ever before.
But, did you know that you don’t necessarily have to change your whole menu to cater to health conscious customers?
Here are a few ways you can attract and retain this group of diners without changing your entire menu:
Another way to cater to the health conscious diner is to add calorie counts and ingredients lists to your restaurant menu as well as your online menu.
You might also add a special section for healthy, low calorie meals or add icons to individual menu items.
For example, if a particular dish is heart-healthy, call attention to it. Likewise, you’d want to promote gluten free or vegetarian options as well.
You’ll find the more you promote your healthy options, the more likely you are to attract customers who are invested in what they eat and want to try your offerings. (tweet this)
While advertising your healthy options makes good business sense, it also pays to be transparent.
It’s not enough to just offer healthy alternatives that taste great, but you need to let your diners know exactly what they’re eating.
Your transparency will help tip the scales over your competition. When thinking about transparency, tell your customers about the following:
Encourage your customers to ask questions about your menu and inspire dialogue to attract more diners.
Your balanced menu is also better when you offer reduced portion sizes.
For example, let’s say you serve hamburgers and French fries. This meets the needs of your customers who aren’t worried about calorie counts or nutritional values at this time.
But, what about the person who really wants a hamburger and fries but wants a smaller version? Consider moderating portion sizes and offer a small size and a regular. This simply means several sizes of buns as well as burgers. You might also offer baked fries instead.
Or, in the case of a pasta dish, you can offer two sizes as well. You might also offer a vegetarian meat option as well as traditional sausage.
When you prepare smaller portion sizes, not only do you cater to the needs of your diners, but you may reduce food waste.
If you want to take it one step further, you can simply reduce the portion size of all your menu items to show you care about your customers.
Let them know you’re going to focus on quality, flavor and the overall dining experience instead of large portion sizes. Show customers you care about their health by offering them a culinary adventure with smaller portion sizes.
Another way to balance your menu to attract more diners is to pay attention to the fat count in your menu items. (tweet this)
Choose healthier oils and consider using plant oils, or others like canola, soy, peanut and olive oils that contain unsaturated fats.
You can also eliminate some of the bad fat by replacing it with fish, nuts, seeds, avocados and whole grains. These are all considered good fat.
In addition to reducing fat counts, pay attention to refined carbohydrates found in white bread, white rice, mashed potatoes and white sugar.
We’re not saying you should forgo fats and oils that have more saturated fat such as butter or cream, because they can have a place in your healthier kitchen. Just use them strategically and less often.
As we mentioned before, if you’re replacing ingredients on your menu that benefit the customer, make sure to advertise it.
Finally, when it comes to fat, you don’t have to go no-fat or low-fat, but you might concentrate on the good fat.
Greek cooking often optimizes the good fat creating healthier dishes that also taste terrific. By incorporating some of their techniques and adding lean meats and vegetables, you’re well on your way to creating a more balanced menu.
If you are interested in boosting your sales and beating out the competition, consider broadening your menu.
Offer healthy options for nutrition conscious diners. You’ll meet their needs while encouraging them to return to your restaurant.
Post calorie counts and lists of ingredients on your menus. Add more nutritious choices. Reduce portion sizes on some of your menu items.
We also encourage you not to forget about your other diners who visit your restaurant for their favorite not-so-healthy options.
Make sure to include these not-so-healthy options for those who don’t pay attention to labels and nutrition counts. Plus, these items just may turn into “splurge” options for your usually health conscious diners.
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