Business Insights

Today’s Loaded Lingo

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New Foodservice Jargon

Plates aren’t the only place where mashups are being served in foodservice.

Increasingly, newfangled descriptors are popping up on menus peppered with them. They translate trends – everything from the fusion of flavors or cuisines to how consumers use restaurants today.

“One of the biggest creative innovations is reimagining the familiar,” says Bo Bryant, Shamrock Foods Restaurant Consultant. “Taking traditional items that the consumer understands ‘on paper’ and rearranging or reimagining the product, presentation and menu placement, is a strategy poised to take center stage into 2022.”

Catchy lingo catches guests’ attention, differentiates your menu from a boring one offered down the street, and creates buzzwords that generate word of mouth and attention on social media. And today’s smaller menus make jaunty language stand out more than it would on a page crowded with text.

“Signature touches differentiate your menu from the competition’s,” says Thomas Vigil, Shamrock Foods Chef, CO.

Speak the Foodie language

So think of mashup terms as one more signature touch – one that amplifies the experience you provide. New words like:

  • “Swicy” – sweet + spicy
  • “Swalty” – sweet + salty
  • “Swavory” – sweet + savory
  • “Char coo” – charcuterie
  • “Cae Sal” – Caesar salad
  • “Kim-cheez” – a grilled cheese with kimchi
  • “Mexi Fries” – the Mexican version of French fries

Trendy terms can be used for more than just the food. Today’s flex-diners are looking for:

  • “Dunch” – dinner + lunch – which offers both hearty and lighter fare
  • “Brinner” – brunch + dinner – in which festive fare from brunch pops up at the dinner hour

Embrace the opportunity

Create your own signature menu language. Remember to be:

  • True To Your Brand

    Consider whether these language mashups align with your core customer base.

  • Creative

    Have fun with your descriptions. Arrange the words as creatively as you do with food on the plate.

  • Clear

    Afraid your new term won’t be an instant take? Add a few words to clarify your meaning. Set expectations to win and maintain your customers trust.

The bottom line? Who knows who coined the term “staycation”? But we all know what it means. And it was memorable right from the get-go. Think of clever menu lingo as a new way to translate trends and make your restaurant memorable.

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