With food trends continually evolving, it’s essential for restaurants to keep up with these trends to maintain customer loyalty. But on the other hand, this process is a constant balancing act. How can you update your menu without compromising your brand identity?

Start by learning about the life cycle of a food trend and research new flavors. Once you have completed your research, gather your insights and build a marketing strategy that incorporates sustainable food trends. Finally, you’ll have the knowledge you need so you can ride each wave right into restaurant profits.

 

Set the Stage

Experts have spent years studying the evolution of food trends, so it’s easy to learn about the way they grow. Watch as popular flavors like sriracha and hibiscus follow these steps:

1. Inception

The very beginning. The flavor appears on a few menus, but most likely in fine dining restaurants.

2. Adoption

The ingredient is used in casual and independent restaurants, but it’s not yet well-known. The trend grows its base through lower price points and simpler prep methods.

3. Proliferation

Now, the menu item appeals to everyone. The flavor may be adjusted slightly so that it works in fast-casual and quick-service restaurants.

4. Ubiquity

You can find this ingredient everywhere. Your guests know it well and order it often.

Which trendy ingredients appear on your menu? Review cloud reports and watch as certain flavors grow more popular over time.

 

Be on Brand

Research new trends, but don’t be seduced by a dish that’s at odds with your concept. For example, tzatziki can be delicious with falafel, rice dishes, and even on a burger. However, it might not go so well with traditional ramen. “If you’re trying lots of different menu items, [customers] may wonder what type of restaurant you are,” says Jonathan Muhtar, chief marketing officer of Captain D’s. “Everything, including LTOs, moves from that point. We don’t lose sight of that focus.”

As you consider new trends, bear in mind the best practices for menu design. Offering too many choices may overwhelm your guests, so they’re left confused and unsatisfied. It may even result in a negative review. If you plan to test out sustainable food trends, leave some room for growth in your menu.

 

Post with the Most

Experts predict that social media ads will be the number one restaurant marketing tool this year. Every time you update your menu, make sure you post about it. Whether you’re running a limited-time offer or introducing a permanent new dish, your guests want to know what’s going on. You can even run a deal that’s only available to people who see your Facebook ad, so these guests know to check social media in the future.

Promoting your menu online is a great way to grow your following and your bottom line. If your guests see a new dish they want to try, they will likely share the news with their friends. This process is essential for two main reasons. First, it spreads the word about your brand and boosts profits in the short term. It also connects you to more and more guests, resulting to long-term success for your restaurant.

Sustainable food trends are about the numbers, but they’re also about community building. These flavors grow more popular as your guests talk to each other and have new experiences. Researching flavors is important, but the best way to learn about your customers’ tastes is to learn about them as people. Keep track of which demographics are most excited about your restaurant, so you can predict which trends will be most popular.