New trends continue to pop up in the quick-serve franchise world. The latest? Small food items are poised to take off in a big way.
CNN recently reported that Dairy Queen will debut a 7-ounce Mini Blizzard, 5 ounces less than the smallest size currently available, in July. The mini-treat is the latest in a line of small additions to fast-food menus.
Last year, Burger King launched a limited-time line of mini-burgers dubbed BK Burger Shots. Also last year, McDonald’s Big Mac Snack Wrap put a Big Mac’s burger, pickle, special sauce, lettuce, and cheese in a tortilla, creating a mini-burger-burrito. And Quizno’s mini-wrap sandwich, the Sammie, has been a hit since it was introduced in 2007. Meanwhile, franchises including Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons have promoted branded donut holes (called Munchkins and Timbits, respectively).
The mini-Blizzard at DQ was launched in response to customer requests, Dean Peters, associate vice president of communications at International Dairy Queen, told CNN. Peters adds, “We also felt there was an opportunity there with a smaller size Blizzard — which is our signature product–to perhaps bundle it with a combo meal.”
I’ve seen the mini-food trend come and go more than once in my years observing the world of franchising. There are lots of reasons mini-menu items make sense right now.
- They’re kid-friendly. Parents in particular, who make up a large contingent of fast-food customers, are more aware of health issues related to their children. Smaller menu items offer a good way to give a child a tiny treat without contributing to childhood obesity.
- They win over women. Along the same lines, women are often looking for less caloric versions of their favorite treats that they can eat without feeling guilty. Small menu items fill the bill.
- They fit consumers’ pocketbooks. Americans are still cutting back on spending, but smaller (and lower-priced) menu items offer a way for them to treat themselves without dropping lots of cash.
- They’re fun. Tiny menu items have a “fun factor” that appeals to diners. The novelty of a small product is a big selling point.
Has your franchise considered adding smaller versions of top-selling treats? It could be a recipe for success.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva on Twitter at Twitter.com/Rieva. Visit SmallBizDaily.com to read more of Rieva’s insights on small business and to buy her newest book, Marketing 101: Quick Tips for Marketing Your Business.