Should Your Restaurant Jump on the Health Food Bandwagon?
To green or not to green? That’s a terrible question, but you get the idea. The hippest restaurants in town these days focus heavily on the sustainability and benefits in their practices. In order to compete with the best of them, you might think it’s time to cut your losses and start to bring healthy options into play. It brings a new palette and flavor options into play if you’re not already using healthier ingredients. But is that really what you want? You could bring in a whole slew of new customers, but at the same time you could potentially alienate your less health-conscious audience. This interplay between the health-conscious and the uncaring pleasure eaters is a constant force in decision making for restaurant owners. Big national chain restaurants adapt by expanding their menus to accommodate for everyone. Even fast-food giants like McDonald’s are making an extra killing by adding low-calorie alternatives to standard meals like Big Macs. So without disrupting your restaurant model, should you change things up to have healthier menu options?
Obvious Health Benefits
Healthy foods mean healthy customers. They won’t always be full to the brink with their dining selection, but they’ll be happier with the good choices that they made. At the end of the day, they’re happy that they came to eat at your establishment because they were able to feel good about themselves as they left the place. They can go home with easy hearts. One of the greatest challenges for restaurants across the foodie spectrum: creating dishes that are as tasty as they are desirable. You should always strive to offer the best. Luckily, some of the best quality ingredients are also the best for you! The ingredients you use make or break the dishes that your chef chooses to prepare. The nice thing about choosing healthier ingredients to use in your dishes is that you can taste the difference. Typically, this difference is for the better. The people you dine with aren’t always going to be taste bud compatible. Sometimes, you want to go to a “First Watch” for breakfast while your friends might want to go to the classic American diner type of establishment. Coexisting within both worlds will aid to your success.
The Organic Craze
About a decade ago, nobody truly cared about whether or not the food they were eating was organic. By 2015, the trend had taken the foodservice market by storm. $39.7 billion worth of organic food was sold in that year, and at about 11% increase from the previous year, it was was the highest growth ever. To put it into perspective, nearly 5% of all food products sold were organic in 2015. With such a boom in interest for locally-sourced health foods, the demand for increased organic foods in restaurant followed suit. These foods are super popular, especially among young parents and millennials. There’s no real proof that organic foods had any more nutritional value than conventionally grown food, aside from maybe more omega-3 fatty acids in organic milk and dairy. Regardless of the truth, these products are more appealing to your clientele without a doubt. The options will nearly always be more expensive if they’re organic, but the amount of new customers you gain could easily outweigh the costs.
What’s Your Niche?
If your staple product is burgers, then you probably won’t think too much on also selling salads. At least, that’s the most immediate train of thought. In reality, there are ways for your health conscious restaurant patrons to have their cake and eat it too (beef cake that is!). A little bit of marketing can go a long way. Just because your best selling product is a juicy pile of red meat doesn’t mean you can’t spice it up the form a bit. Try making specialty salads that are similar in flavor to your specialty burger! Give them a few light dressing options to add to the healthy way of thinking that comes with the meal. Well, what if your restaurant’s specialty is naturally very greasy and can’t be plopped on top of a salad? Well, that’s when you get creative. Give your customer a nice array of vegetable side options to sub in for french fries or coleslaw. Make it clear that there is a “light” option for your sauces. Have calorie counts next to the some or all of your menu options to help convince your customers that your food is health food. Overall, these are just a few of the many simple options that cost very little to the restaurant but give the customer a sense of being guilt-free.
If you’re thinking about getting into health foods, don’t think too much harder. It’s the 21st century, and all of the new budding restaurants take pride in their ability to be tastier, healthier and overall better options. Trade some delicious veggies and fruits for your typical fried dishes; leave those for the fast food chains! Foodies and casual restaurant goers alike will be more drawn to eat at your establishment if they know that what they’re eating will help them in the long run rather than hurt them.