The New Menu Items That Can Inspire You

Every once in a while, any restauranteur will need to refresh their menu options, adding new seasonal items, retiring older ones, and the like. Major chains do it all the time, and they occasionally find new items that have success. Some restaurants have brand new attempts at menu concepts; is there anything from the major companies that you can adapt for your own restaurant?

  • McDonald’s has announced that they’d stop advertising some of their less healthy options to children. In an effort to appeal healthier to consumers, they’ve decided to start allowing healthy options as part of combos with their sandwiches. The changes will start in 20 of their largest markets, but may take until 2020 for it to go fully across the board, the NY Times reports. Simple advertising changes include promoting milk and juice as part of Happy Meals, while still allowing parents to order soft drinks as part of the combo, and they will be allowing a side-salad or a piece of fruit to replace french fries in combo meals.
  • Speaking of french fries, Burger King has launched their new Satisfries item, healthier french fries that are lower in fat and calories, according to the NY Times, showing another commitment to healthier options.
  • Pretzel buns have been spreading across many major fast food establishments as the trend of the time, according to USA Today. 7-11, Blimpie, Wendy’s, Ruby Tuesday, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sonic, Red Robin, and even Starbucks have all either revamped sandwich concepts with pretzel buns or added new pretzel-centric items to their menus. According to their report, “pretzel” is the fastest-growing sandwich bread, and has appeared in every sort of dish from Pretzel Bread Stuffed Sandwiches and Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwiches to Cheesy Bacon Pretzel Dog and Stoneground Dijon Bavarian-Style Pretzels.
  • If pretzel is the bun of the year, then avocado is the fruit of the year, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. The fruit is popular due to it’s color (green suggests freshness), texture (creamy), and flavor (mild), make it a popular addition or enhancement to many menu items (and for some, it’s perfectly fine to eat on its own or with a little bit of salt). Their article also points out that many restaurants are going from the subtraction model of recipes (taking out fatty or salty ingredients) and instead are going for the addition model (adding healthy amounts of protein or veggies). Other items having been added to menus in recent times have been Sriracha and quinoa.

All these changes to the menu have resulted in the restaurant industry spending five times more than the rest of American business on average on advertising. A slow-growth market has driven them to try out new products and gain market share from others.

Could a few menu glances from the big companies inspire sales in your restaurant? Is there any way you can fashion a pretzel bun for a product, or any item that would just go better with some avocado? Do you just need to reaffirm your commitment to health in the eyes of the consumer, and swap in some healthier options in advertising and promotions?