Food focus: the growing need to develop a menu that meets your customers' needs

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Creating a menu that appeals to families, children and customers of different generations is a balancing act. However, one constant is that food trends follow lifestyle trends. In addition to introducing on-trend flavours to the menu, add innovative touches by tapping into lifestyle trends, tweak your service styles, and make menu changes that appeal to your audiences.

We’ve created a guide to help you develop a menu that meets all of your customers’ needs.

Snacking is an occasion


Snacking and beverage-only occasions are most common among Millennials and Gen Z customers. According to this article on the South African snack market, 75 percent of global customers snack daily and have replaced the three-meals-a-day habit with snacking throughout the day.

The article also states that some South Africans have come to view snacks as a definitive occasion instead of an optional extra. What’s more is that they prefer health-conscious snacks such as sugar-free, lactose-free and vegan-friendly snacks. Whether it’s takeout from a restaurant or a corner store; snacks are an effective way to capture busy customers.

Specialist drinks are an opportunity

Beverages can energise menus with creative juice hybrids or added flavourings such as turmeric or ginger. For coffee drinks, boost your menu with specialist milks, seasonal flavours and protein supplements. Currently, the dairy-free trend is dominating in the beverage space, with many customers opting for alternative types of milk such as plant- based soya milk, nut-based hazelnut milk, almond milk, oat-milk and rice milk.

Nowadays, customers are more fickle than ever and have less brand loyalty than we’ve previously seen. They buy from brands which offer convenience and value to their lifestyles.

Make healthier menu options available

Customers opt for more balanced and health-conscious food, whether it’s sitting down at a restaurant or having the food delivered straight to their doors. Some consumers are following the low-carb lifestyle diet, which makes them choose gluten-free types of bread such as macadamia nut bread, almond bread and coconut bread.

Plant-based foods is a growing trend, and many restaurants have acknowledged this by adding plant-based meals on their menus. From burgers to wraps, salads, snacks and beverage offerings, these alternatives are on demand.

Capture their attention with technology

It’s a known fact that Millennial consumers and Gen Z consumers spend most of their time on their smartphones. Mobile trends show that these demographics have used mobile apps to find a place to eat or drink.

So, using technology is an effective way of capturing their attention. 

Digital menus are becoming a huge trend. They make it easy to add menu items, promote specials, and feature images of promotable foods and drinks. In-store and drive-thru consumers express a strong interest in digital screens that confirm their orders. In addition, up-to-date menu boards, ordering systems, and mobile payment options offer competitive advantages. Restaurants are considering tech-heavy menus, with many of them interested in adding digital screens with changing menu images and information.

Promote family-friendly foods

Restaurants believe families help build repeat business, with many actively marketing to families. Promotable foods include better-for-you breakfast items such as yoghurt or juice- based smoothies and vegetable sides with kid appeal. Millennial parents are the most conscious of kid-friendliness when making their venue and menu choices. A recent study done by Dataessential found that parents believe that kids’ menus could use a boost.

Appeal to tiny diners

Children’s palates are often more sophisticated than restaurants realise, so they can include more choices for kids while still appealing to their parents. Offer try-before-you-buy samples, which encourage children to try new flavours. Designing new kids’ menus is not without its challenges, but it is also an area of opportunity that can increase traffic.

Consumers’ tastes and demands are constantly changing, so, to stay competitive, you need to be innovative and add the type of food, snacks and beverages they want. Start making the change on your menu today. Between Maggi’s wide range of quality and diverse food offering and the Nestlé beverage brands, we can offer you a variety of on-trend culinary options for your business.