Menu Resolutions for the New Year

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As the new year approaches and consumers consider resolutions for growth and self-improvement, operators can look to many of those same resolutions to refresh the menu. Think workouts for staple ingredients, letting on-hand items do the heavy lifting for innovation. And, enable consumers to spend more time with friends and family, and make restaurant spending worthwhile, with shareable apps and value-added dishes. Finally bring the taste of travel abroad to the dinner table by incorporating trending global flavors into menu staples.

1) Give on-hand ingredients a workout!

Exercising more is a top New Year's resolution for consumers looking to get into shape. You can get your menu into shape as well by using on-hand ingredients to do the heavy lifting! Look to staples like fries, fried chicken, and more that are both highly-menued and still growing. These items provide familiarity and appeal while inspiring innovation as craveable bases or pairings - all without having to buy a whole new set of ingredients!

In addition, some of the top menued dishes continue to gain traction and serve as innovation bases. These on-hand items and versatile formats 1) can provide a platform for unique combinations of new or on-hand proteins (like the Surf & Turf Bowl), 2) garner excitement with a new sauce applied to an existing item (like the Honey BBQ Fried Chicken Taco), and 3) take advantage of social media trends like with Lamb Weston’s Bacon Loaded Cream Cheese Board.

Surf & Turf Bowl - Fast Casual

Double the protein, double the flavor with new citrus lime shrimp and grilled steak with hand crafted guacamole, chile crema, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, cilantro lime rice, and black beans served in a bowl.

$12.75 June 2022

Honey BBQ Fried Chicken Taco - QSR

Features crispy, all white meat chicken tenders wrapped in a soft, flour tortilla and topped with our sweet, little bit smoky honey BBQ sauce, crisp shredded lettuce, and all natural cheddar cheese.

$2.99 June 2022

*Penetration on app/entrée/side menus, Datassential MenuTrends YE Sep 2022

Datassential SCORES

 top performer for item type (>90th percentile)

 above average for item type (70th to 90th percentile)

2) Make more time for friends & family

For consumers, the new year can mean a renewed focus on relationships. Now that COVID restrictions are a thing of the past, shareable appetizers are gaining traction on menus, with an abundance of toppings or poppable formats enabling a more social eating experience for friends and family.

*Growth on appetizer menus over the past 4 years in Datassential MenuTrends, YE Sep 2022

3) Make restaurant spending worthwhile

New Year's resolutions related to saving money are nothing new, but in this time of inflation, careful spending is more important than ever with 64% of consumers reporting that money is tighter right now (Datassential's Value Versus Convenience HotShot, September 2022). Consider how to infuse value into dishes and what is most worthwhile to consumers for food away-from-home.

Create a dining experience that’s worth every penny

When consumers are looking to dine out, they are mindful of where they will spend their hard-earned cash. But that doesn’t mean they’re looking for the cheapest options.

Their top three considerations when choosing a restaurant are:

   - Great taste (77%)

   - Value (65%)

    - Good service (53%)

All three of these attributes reflect the great experience your patrons are looking for when having a meal. So, rather than resorting to price slashing, create dishes loaded with proteins, fries, and toppings (like the one below) while providing great service. Your customers are then more willing to spend their time – and money – at your establishment.

Datassential’s Value Versus Convenience HotShot, September 2022

Texas BBQ Chicken Tender Pile Up - QSR

Two chicken tenders on fries, topped with BBQ sauce, pickled jalapeños, cheddar, and crispy onion tanglers.

$5.29 Oct 2022

Datassential SCORES

 top performer for item type (>90th percentile)

4) Learn a new (flavor) language!

Resolutions related to world travel and learning new languages can translate to the menu through trending global spices and sauces. Bring a taste of other cultures to consumers through trending flavors from abroad - many of which are already showing up on menus with staples like sandwiches, wings, fries, and more!

Draw consumers away from home with global flavors applied to familiar, craveable favorites. As trending global flavors evolve, they tend to expand applications into formats like pizza, burgers, fries, and more as approachable ways for consumers to try something new. Think elote mac & cheese topped with cotija, roasted corn, and Tajin, or kimchi loaded fries drizzled with Korean BBQ sauce.

Tajin +266%

A Mexican spice blend of chiles, lime, and salt, Tajin is growing as a topping on elote (Mexican street corn), guacamole, and other apps.

Furikake +54%

Furikake is a Japanese blend of sesame seeds, seaweeds, herbs, fish flakes, and salt, mainly used with rice and fish but trending with fries.

Mango Habanero +74%

This Latin-inspired fruity and spicy flavor combination adds heat to wings, tacos, bowls, and more.

Chili Garlic +44%

A primarily Thai flavor on menus, this approachably-named combo is also served on wings and can be a Cajun flavor, too.

Gochujang +69%

Sweet and spicy trend superstar gochujang has made its way to menu mashups like Korean loaded fries or Korean cheese steak sandwiches.

Korean BBQ +38%

Taking off as a wing sauce, Korean BBQ is a sweet and savory flavor that also appears in tacos, burgers, and even loaded fries.

*Growth on app/entrée/side menus over the past 4 years in Datassential MenuTrends, YE Sep 2022

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