It may be time to implement a “Family Style” section on your menu.
Yesterday the Calorie Counting Police were out in force in
The event caused such a flair that CNN ran the story almost hourly, comparing the 1700 calories from a Burger King meal to the 495 calorie count of a Starbucks cookie.
The case study here is interesting. Will hunger mongers begin to justify the Big Meal with a full blown calorie count instead of snacking on a cookie? If the economy has anything to do with it, I would image that most people will opt for the $5.59 burger, fries and Coke option to the lonely Choc?-chip cookie for $2.00. Throw in the Starbucks drink of choice and suddenly you just spent as much on a snack as you could have for dinner.
This raises an interesting question – will consumers suddenly realize few offerings at fast food eateries meet the suggested daily intake requirements yet, the choices between meeting your budgetary needs or being hungry certainly has an obvious answer.
Welcome, independents. Yet to be governed by the calorie police, independent operators have a few options that can increase business and offer the consumer a healthier alternative. If you analyze the processed food that Ron, the King, and Starbucks is selling, it doesn’t take a very creative imagination to develop something as an alternative. Naturally, you will never compete with the culinary conglomerates and if you are not in
Therefore, become pro active. Develop reasonably priced healthy alternatives, without describing them as healthy alternatives- remember the heart healthy menu sections- that flopped rapidly and branded many restaurants as diet factories. The alternative to fast food is to shop local and develop a menu base on that.
It will become the trend of the future as gas, and inflation continue to cut into the budgets of those who support us. The good news is that the consumer is suddenly faced with outrageous grocery store prices, making dining out a comparable option.
If you think of the possibilities they are numerous. Think family style meals- large bowls of pasta and salad, whole chickens, a salad and a vegetable. Create a meatloaf platter for four or a roasted turkey dinner. Family style platters work at many levels. They are easy to plate- less staff in the kitchen- they are easy to serve- that are reasonable to prepare. They also have an attractive “family dining together” aura about them. Run a family night special on a Wednesday night – to see what response you get.
There are numerous ways to compete with the competition and the grocery store down the street.
Just the other evening I ate at Caf? Citti in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. A whole chicken, cut into eighths, a Caesar Salad, bread and a bottle of sparkling water was under $30.00 including the tip. Did the house make a lot of money? No. However, they kept the tables full, kept the wait staff working, made a neighbor happy and served the same customer the following night.
It really takes a lot of creativity and restaurant ingenuity to keep the cash flowing in these difficult times. Often you have to watch what you are doing, but frequently you can get some tips from the competition.
And above all else, you need to get your message out. You know that email list you’ve been accumulating. Use it. People read their emails. Especially when it comes to a reasonably priced dining alternative.