Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

The Innovation Game Keeping up with flavor trends while staying true to your brand is key to stability and growth

Twin Peaks’ Buffalo Chicken Salad stars Buffalo tenders that are also featured on a sampler app, and the blue cheese also appears in another salad’s dressing.
PHOTO CREDIT: Front Burner Restaurants

5 Ways to Maximize On-Trend SKUs

by Rob Corliss
  1. Analyze and focus on the bigger macro-trend influence of a flavor or ingredient. Consider how the trend driver aligns with your operation instead of focusing on the specific flavor or ingredient.
  2. Maximize a new flavor or ingredient for multiple menu or LTO cycles, introducing it in creative new ways and formats across your menu versus jumping to the next “it” trend.
  3. Run a successful LTO flavor or ingredient for multiple years (three or more), at its cycle time/season, leveraging the proven consumer appeal instead of creating new LTOs each cycle.
  4. Turn the equity you have from one existing star flavor or ingredient on a core menu item into a new menu creation on a different menu category or with an LTO feature.
  5. Showcase seasonal items to maintain brand relevancy. This is a natural opportunity to change out or enhance less desirable SKUs and perpetually optimize new seasonal flavors. Use that new seasonal ingredient to test the elasticity of your menu and to gauge consumer reactions to price and new flavor experiences.
Unforked’s Crunchy Q Salad sees romaine and napa cabbage, crushed white corn chips, raw sweet corn, poblano chiles, roasted sunflower kernels and tomatoes.Unforked

Unforked’s Crunchy Q Salad sees romaine and napa cabbage, crushed white corn chips, raw sweet corn, poblano chiles, roasted sunflower kernels and tomatoes. Local summer corn is maximized in three different dishes.

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About The Author

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Katie Ayoub is managing editor of Flavor & The Menu. She has been working in foodservice publishing for more than 16 years and on the Flavor team since 2006. She won a 2015 Folio award for her Flavor & The Menu article, Heritage Matters. In 2006, she won “Best Culinary Article” from the Cordon D’Or for an article on offal.