Flex-dining is on the rise. Traditional dayparts are blurring as diners make meals of snacks and want food at all hours, in-house or on the run. Menu parts are evolving, too, as guests don’t want to be locked into rigid formats. They crave broader, flavorful options that let them control their dining experience. Be ready for them.
Evaluate staffing, scheduling and workflow. Can you be flexible as dayparts continue to blur? Will you need to make changes? Cross-train staff to shift gears when necessary. Evaluate new labor-saving technologies and equipment. Think induction cooking or mobile-based tools that can turn on ovens from a cellphone, allowing food to be pre-cooked and staged while gaining efficiencies.
Incentivize sales at certain hours by offering mid-afternoon and late-nightsnacking “happy hours.” Run brunch specials in the evening to offer a familiar experience in a new way (night owls will thank you). Track orders to help identify opportunities.
Offer options, but keep the snack and sharables menu to one page to avoid overwhelming guests and staff.
Cross-utilize ingredients while satisfying the growing hunger for new, innovative flavors and formats. Transform your mac and cheese into bite-sized handhelds served with indulgent dipping sauces. Blend breakfast fruit into smoothies or layer it into yogurt parfaits. Grind up meats and veggies for signature croquettes. Constantly reinvent with popular ingredients.
To differentiate snacks and shareables from other dishes on the menu, emphasize craveable flavors and textures – especially crispiness. Think deep-fried, battered Buffalo cauliflower; crispy Brussels-sprout chips and twice-cooked feta fries. Or draw inspiration from global flavors and global street food – a top trend according to many industry sources.
A Sneak Peek at the Snack Opportunity
Consumers these days are likely to replace one or two meals per day with snacks.
Offer portability. Many diners report that they have no choice but to eat on the run. Cater to this lifestyle trend with grab-and-go containers from ProPak®, filled with handheld snacks like bao buns and wraps.
Menu beverage snacks. Smoothies, milkshakes, bone broths, drinkable cold soups, protein-infused functional beverages, specialty coffee drinks, matcha teas and personalized sodas are profitable opportunities.
Think outside the snack box. Smoothies, milkshakes, bone broths, drinkable cold soups, protein-infused functional beverages, specialty coffee drinks, matcha teas and personalized sodas are profitable opportunities.
Embracing The Shareables Opportunity
Ramp up comfort. Everyone craves comfort food. Passing it around makes guests feel connected with fellow diners. Menu loaded grain bowls as well as platters of pastas and lavishly sauced poutines, tots or nachos along with smaller bites
Change up charcuterie platters. Offer options such as housemade sausage, local cheese or something more exotic, like boar sausage, pulled duck, vegan dogs/ cheese and dragon fruit. “It doesn’t have to be cheese and meat,” says Chef Angel Morales, Shamrock Foods Corporate Chef. “You can do a lot with other items like grain toasts, fruits, vegetables and homemade nut butters.”
Facilitate evolved social-media sharing. Diners are turning to video and audio in Instagram stories, Facebook Live and YouTube. Are your shareables shareable?
Make pourables to share. Pitchers of punch and specialty beverages complement shareable food – and give guests control of their beverage intake.
Serve spreads, dips and hot cheese. Menu ramekins of melty cheese and housemade signature spreads or dips to go with everything.
Get into the sharing spirit and ask your Shamrock Foods Sales Representative how to maximize snack and shareable opportunities.
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