In an effort to decrease costs, pared-down menus have become the rule, rather than the exception. By simplifying offerings, operators can better focus on what they do best while reducing inventory and waste.
Chicago-based Datassential reports that 76% of consumers have no problem with restaurants offering a reduced menu amid the pandemic. At the same time, family style meals have become more prevalent.
Datassential’s May 2020 “COVID-19 Here I Come” report, which surveyed 4,000 U.S. consumers, revealed 42% of respondents have ordered a family meal bundle at least once during COVID-19, and 38% will likely continue when the pandemic abates
Family Meal Preferences
Consumers responded that they are interested in family meal bundles that offer flexibility when asked “If restaurants continue to offer family meal bundles, which types would you prefer?”
More Operators Pare Down Menus
Half (50%) of operators surveyed reported they pared down their menu size in a Datassential restaurant decision-makers’ study in early May. That’s an increase of 7% from March. The numbers also jumped in terms of operators who added large/family-size/bulk-size options, with 22% of operators reporting they have added such options in the May survey, compared with 12% in March.
As for full meal bundles, which include an appetizer, entree, sides and a dessert, 16% of operators surveyed added these to the menu, versus just 9% in March. About two-thirds of operators felt that family-size/bulk offerings have been effective and will continue post-COVID-19, and half of operators plan to continue offering meal bundles. Most operators said the paring down of menus has been effective for now but won’t continue after the crisis. More than a third said they will keep their menus leaner post-pandemic
With fewer items, operators can be more descriptive of their offerings, according to Chicago-based Technomic. More consumers will choose a menu item that includes more detailed descriptions (27%) over one with limited information, according to Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics program. Reducing offerings also makes it easier for restaurants to specialize and customize.
Sides & Apps Good With Bundles
Almost half (46%) of consumers responded that they prefer a side and/or appetizer in a family meal bundle when asked, “If restaurants were to offer family meal bundles, what would you want them to include?”