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August 12, 2021

Labor-Saving, Trend-Forward Foodservice Products Are Key to Sales Success for 2022

Tony Treadway

Menu Trends 2022

The Smart Start To 2022 Sales Success

It’s a bit early for 2022 predictions in product trends for restaurants, but one cornerstone to success is clear. Food manufacturer products that help operators reduce labor and speed service will have a decided advantage.

As a leading food-focused ad agency, we’ve leveraged multiple operator surveys across America to determine what restaurants need as the bulk of the pandemic wanes. At the top of the list is, “help me make my kitchen and my menu more efficient.” Second, “take-out and delivery will continue to be important and so will portion control.”

How do you make a kitchen and menu more efficient?

Fully or partially prepared menu items are an important solution for operator’s labor shortage or necessary wage increases. For example, we’re marketing fully prepared marinara, pizza, and spaghetti sauces as an alternative to making marinara from scratch. A heat and serve marinara is important for restaurants with a varied menu with three or four Italian options.

For another client, the solution is flavored butter dollops. These innovative dollops combine spices, citrus, or herb flavors as a signature topping for proteins and vegetables such as a garlic herb or lemon herb topping. Rather than spend labor hours creating a customer butter, operator staff simply reach for a refrigerated dollop that melts perfectly over the menu item when heated.

These back-of-house solutions are generating significant interest and lead inquiries driven by an integrated approach to print, digital, social, and e-marketing tactics.

Broad menu application of sauces.

A recent trip to a leading steakhouse found more than six menu items topped with the chain’s signature sauce. Finding a signature sauce that supports the brand’s position with its customers is both smart and efficient. Whether prepped back of house or ideally fully prepared, the efficiency of a single flavored sauce applied across appetizers, entrees, and sandwiches is a key selling point for any sauce manufacturer.

A print execution promoting multiple uses of a single sauce. A QR is used to drive operators to a lead gen pay off for the client.

Two examples of marketing tactics we’ve employed for sauce clients is a signature sauce revenue calculator that demonstrates the revenue potential of upcharging customers for a chain’s signature sauce. Another is a photo gallery of a fully prepared marinara sauce across a menu. Both continue to be major lead generators for closing the sale on major restaurant chains.

Portion control will remain a key.

As operators began to emerge from the pandemic shutdown, we asked them to share their views on their future reliance on portion control. While many quickly returned to placing condiments such as ketchup and hot sauce on their tables as masks and social gathering edicts were reduced by state or local edicts, leftovers from the pandemic remain.

Portion control packets and sauce cups will remain in high demand by operators through the end of 2021 and beyond for another reason. Assuming the nation continues to claw back from COVID, operators will continue to seek solutions for take-out and delivery. Our survey found that 25% of operators say 50% or more of their sales will be through take-out or delivery. Portion control will remain an important part of their plan through 2022.

An operator survey found that 25% think take-out and delivery will be at least 50% of their business.

Manufacturers offering their products in portion control have been overwhelmed by demand over the past 18 months. It appears that the demand will continue. If you have portion control options for your products, marketing them prominently will continue to be a smart option.

If you would like to know more about our post-pandemic insights from numerous surveys or get a head start on your marketing plan for 2022, let’s start the discussion.