With summer in full swing, now is the time to start planning for the fall season. Fall is a great time to create enhanced menus, fall-focused LTOs and delicious seasonal pairings for increased sales opportunities and festive experiences your customers are sure to fall for!
Operations with seasonal menus see around 26% more orders and a 23% increase in check averages over those who don’t modify their menus1 —it only makes sense to take advantage of the strong interest in fall- themed offerings. Here are five ways you can capitalize on the fall season to help attract new customers and increase profitability.
1. Showcase Seasonal Specials
Rather than creating an entirely new menu for fall—which can be costly and time consuming—simply add an insert to your regular menu, or display rotating table tents at your operation. For “to-go” customers, consider including a festively designed printout of seasonal specials with their orders so they can try something new during their next visit.1 Simply incorporating fall ingredients like pumpkin, winter squash and Brussels sprouts can add a seasonal flair to your menu.
2. Highlight Premium Ingredients
Don’t forget to highlight high-quality ingredients and where they come from. Research shows that premium ingredients can influence purchases. For example, one-third of all consumers think sustainably sourced and organic ingredients are very important in their purchasing decisions.2 When it comes to meat consumption, today’s consumers, especially millennials, consider animal welfare, sustainability as well as the absence of antibiotics, hormones and preservatives as major factors when choosing what and where to eat.3 Telling customers you source organic apples from a nearby farm or that you’re committed to serving antibiotic-free chicken and turkey can help set you apart from the competition. After all, you may find that being transparent with your customers could result in higher profits.
3. Elevate Comfort Food
More than a trend, comfort food has become a permanent fixture of the American culinary landscape. By combining a variety of flavors and quality ingredients, you can pay tribute to the foods Americans love while elevating them into more sophisticated, contemporary dishes. For example, combine seasonal flavors with classic dishes such as a pomegranate maple glazed roast turkey with sweet potatoes and pears, chicken potpie with root vegetables, braised short ribs over mashed cauliflower or flavorful stews like hearty pumpkin chicken chili.
4. Improve Takeout Services
Busier workweeks and cooler weather may lead people to opt for grab-and- go offerings more often. Make sure you’re prepared with everything-- takeout menus, proper packaging and marketing plan—to ensure you’re taking advantage of the increasing demand for takeout. Now that 19% of consumers purchase takeout from restaurants 10 or more times per month, it’s time to grow your grab-and- go business.4
5. Market Your Fall Dishes
Achieving success with fall menus means getting the word out to existing customers and attracting new, customers. Sending an alert to your email newsletter subscribers, updating your website and updating the signage are simple strategies to spread the word about seasonal specials. Social media also gives you countless opportunities to target loyal customers and attract new ones. Post photos of fall menu items, encourage diners to post their own and set up a social media poll for diners to vote on their favorite seasonal specials.
From seasonal flavors to takeout services, there are a variety of ways to set your establishment apart and drive traffic this fall. Try these five tactics to help strengthen sales this season.
1 GrubHub, “3 Ways to Incorporate Seasonal Items into Your Menu,” 12/3/15
2 Nielson, “We are what we Eat,” January 2015
3 Refrigerated & Frozen Foods, “Study: Restaurant Patrons Want Menu Transparency for Meat, Poultry,” 6/16/16
4 Technomic, Takeout & Off-Premise Dining Consumer Trend Report, 2016