Driven by the coming-of-age Gen Z, there are increasing numbers of diners who prefer dishes containing plant proteins at least some of the time. These flexitarians may no longer be satisfied with the old-standby vegetarian entrées like pasta or salads. To keep up with demand, restaurants from fast-casual to fine-dining are introducing more vegan-friendly options. Since customers can easily go online to scan menus and ratings, expanding your offer base to be inclusive of these various diets can help differentiate your restaurant from the ones above and below it in the search results.
But how can you know if your restaurant should change up the menu to introduce healthier and possibly vegetarian options? Test out these three easy ways to gauge whether your guests would appreciate more plant-based and healthy options (as opposed to having to modify existing items):
1) Offer complimentary tastings of potential new items. Select one of your locations and invite some of your best guests to form a focus group. In addition to making them feel special and that their opinions are valued, this will give you important feedback.
2) Deploy real-time surveys to guests purchasing new plant-based items on your menu. Your loyal guests are likely to provide their thoughts on areas that need improvement. By making every interaction with your guests meaningful, you can extract valuable information and use it to keep them coming back.
3) Reflect your excitement about potential new offerings on social media and through email blasts. Some of your lapsed and low-frequency guests may have reduced their visits because your menu didn’t fit their dietary preferences. If they’ve ordered vegetarian entrées in the past, let them know about your recent additions and give them an offer to sweeten the deal.
After receiving positive feedback that supports a menu change, you should educate your staff on the details and benefits of the new items. Consumers are increasingly concerned about their health and where their food is being sourced, so if you have an item that’s made with organic vegetables or locally sourced ingredients, make sure your staff can convey this powerful information to guests
To learn more about whether this trend is something your restaurant should embrace, check out the on-demand webinar, “The Rise of Healthy Dining Concepts: Should You Swipe Right?”