Food trends are a necessary evil. You may not like to feel like you have to be keeping up with the Joneses every time there’s a new food trend for 2017…but you also know if people like it they will come.
But where do the food trends originate from? Is there a way where you can make something you already have insta famous?
There are many variables that drive people to making a purchase , and meals are no exception. It can be distilled down to two main things- consumers can be driven by fear or price.
While those are drivers, it has to taste good to last. For example- Starbucks’ unicorn frappe was super popular…for a day or two. If you want to add something trendy to your menu, make sure it correctly aligns with your place, and that people would want to order it again.
Besides taste and social media fame, one of the sneaky drivers is fear. It’s not like consumers are afraid of the food, but more afraid of what it means.
Take the gluten-free trend for example, it became a sensation based off gluten being bad for you, and cutting it out or eating gluten free breads instead was a much better choice. However, unless you have celiac disease or a known gluten intolerance, there are no health reasons to make the swap. Yet it got spread around that it was a healthier choice, so people blindly went along with it.
The idea of what makes things “healthy” stems from fear but often falls into weight loss as well as the second kicker. Why did the gluten free movement take off so well? Because not eating bread led people to lose weight. The same goes for detoxes. People think that they must detox their bodies with charcoal or juice cleanses, when there is no scientific background to support that it is healthy. Scientists actually say you shouldn’t partake in juice cleanses!
So how you you take advantage of consumers’ fear to boost a trend? Quick answer is you don’t…at least not directly.
You have to make sure that whatever you add to your menu based off of trends needs to be inline with your restaurant’s brand. There are always options to add healthier, trendier items though, if you want to hop on them. Like if you are a pizza place, you can do a cauliflower crust or a gluten free dough. It doesn’t need to be crazy but it needs to be worth the time and the effort for you, without sacrificing taste.
The second major thing that drives trends is the price of the ingredients involved and the ability for places to jump on them. This is a way restaurants drive trends. If something useful drops in price, or is already low in price, then you would work to figure out a way to highlight it on the menu.
This one is a hit or miss style, but when you hit a trend and it’s something people are taking photographs of, then your restaurant can get visitors purely from your guests’ social media. Take the “fried egg on everything” craze. Eggs hit a 10 year low in price, and they go with almost everything. It is an inexpensive protein and photographs beautifully. It wasn’t long before people started taking photos with eggs on anything ,and highlighting restaurants that did a great job.
Low prices on food items like eggs, or even avocados, usually trickle down to guests, which gives more people opportunities to try the food trend, over and over again.. As long as the food is good and the price stays low, these trends have a good chance of sticking around.
So what chances does your restaurant have to start a new food trend to drive customers from all over to visit your place?
You can use these trends to influence new aspects of your menu. Adding a new chicken sandwich? Toss some avocado or and egg on that! But remember: for people to want to come and try your trendy items, you need to make sure you are getting it in front of them. Post on social media, and set up your restaurant so it is food photo friendly.
Make sure you are giving people a reason to photograph it. It may take some extra time with your presentation – but if it’s pretty people will take photos. If there are good photos, the guests will come to check it out for themselves.
Have the trendy foods but want to enhance your guests experience while they are there? Learn more here.