With AIG reporting the largest loss in corporate history, a record $61.7 billion for Q4 2008 alone, it’s hard to stay positive during these challenging times.
But with challenging times comes opportunity. A recent report from Mintel Menu Insights† said:
Consumers crave three things when looking at menus these days:
1. Mini foods
3. Lighter (as in better-for-you) meals
I love it when a restaurant calls our company and says, “I think I want to do nutrition information, but I’m not under any menu labeling laws, I just think it’s a competitive advantage.” You’re absolutely right! A recent report from Technomic Inc. found: 82 percent of New York City residents surveyed say the posted calorie information is affecting what they order, and 60 percent say it is affecting what restaurants they visit.
During these hard times, companies (not just restaurants) have to adapt. People want to eat healthy and/or have the option to eat healthy. If our industry is facing its toughest time in 40 years, operators must achieve new and creative ways to bring people back into restaurants.
I can’t guarantee that providing nutrition information will fill up your tables (though I wish I could – because that’s good news for both of us!), but I can tell you that three in four adults say they are trying to eat healthier now at restaurants than they did two years ago‡.
People are saving their pennies, and when they do eat out they want value for their money. Consumers are looking for restaurants that offer Eco Friendly take out carriers, they are looking for restaurants that offer dining discounts, and yes they are even looking for those two words: “Nutrition Information.”
This isn’t a trend. It’s a lifestyle.
I’ll sign off with one of my favorite thought provoking quotes:
"If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." – Henry Ford
†Mintel, a leading market research company www.mintel.com
‡National Restaurant Association’s Industry Forecast for 2009