Canadians Snacking More at Restaurants
By Dwayne Reno
Whether it's healthy, salty or sweet snacks the fact is Canadians are snacking more at restaurants and it's helping foodservice operators generate profit in a saturated market.
Large chain operators such a McDonald's and KFC are serving snack size sandwiches and many restaurants are offering small plates and snacks in their menus. This week we will discuss snack size menus. I would also like to share some of the numbers and how to add snack sizes to your restaurant marketing strategy.
Let’s look at the numbers
The increase of snacking in recent years is partly due to health savvy customers eating smaller meals throughout the day and time crunched customers eating on the go. From 2004 – 2012 snack food sales increased 28.7% to 2.3 billion, here.
These numbers have not gone unnoticed by fast food franchises in Canada. In the past few years we have seen the rise of the "value menu" which features snack size portions of many popular core menu items. This comes at no surprise either since “snack occasions account for 40 per cent of all QSR traffic," according to the market research company, The NPD Group. Much of this traffic is seen during the morning, afternoon and evening while FSR are seeing an increase in evening traffic.
How to implement a snack size menu
The opportunity for foodservice operators is in having a scalable snack size menu with premium options. Customers will snack lighter in the morning, but will start to crave more indulgent snacks during the lunch and evening hours. Since you don’t want customers scaling back from core menu items, adding some premium menu options will help build your cheque averages throughout the day.
Making a snack size menu work for your location
Each customer is different and will have different reasons for snacking. The key to all this is conveniences since many customers will choose to go into your restaurant for a snack on impulse. Providing a menu with healthy, salty and sweet snack size varieties will insure that customer returns to snack another day.
A morning snack is usually a drink (coffee or tea) paired with a baked good. More healthy and indulgent snacks such as wraps and sliders accompanied by a drink might make a great lunchtime or evening option. Ideas for your snack size menu items can easily be taking from your core menu items. Also this is a great way to use up any excess inventory so don't be afraid to get creative. I recently discuss this excess inventory in a previous article, here.
Get the price & food costs right
Now that you have a snack size menu the next step is to price the items correctly. Light morning snacks should be priced at a lower price than your lunch or evening items. If you can’t get the food costs right for a particular item do not add it to your snacking menu as it will not be profitable.
As long as your food costs are aligned these premium snack items will help to buildup cheque averages and use up excess inventory. Furthermore don’t forget to advertise, advertise and advertise. In-house and online marketing will work best to generate awareness.
Whether your customers are boomers or millennials convenience is the reason they choose to snack. Some will be interested in healthy snacks while some will want salty and others, sweet. The key is to provide a variety of healthy, sweet and salty snack size options that are reasonably priced. Also don't forget to include your premium menu items and advertise as much as possible.
If your restaurant, bar or café would like to implement a snack size menu, or would like to know more about how BBA can help aligning the food costs of your current menu items, contact us, here.
Until next time your customers want to know why they should spend money at your restaurant, bar or cafe. So give them the goods!
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Dwayne Reno CEO & Founder
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