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Interesting Facts

Social Media & the Restaurant Industry

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Social media is one of the most relevant ways to reach customers and promote your restaurant business. It has changed the way we experience everything from day-to-day communication to eating out. 

With the rise of Instagram and Facebook, restaurant owners are seeking social media platforms to attract customers, get customer feedback, and to build customer loyalty. 

Let your customers eat with their eyes. Sharing pictures and videos of your restaurant’s menu, food preparation, and venue attracts the attention of young consumers and creates brand recognition.

  • Increased Control – Social media marketing can be controlled on a computer in the back of house or via iPhone. Studies show that 1 billion people use IG every month and while 63% of the users login everyday, 62% of people say they’ve become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it on their IG stories. 
  • Responsive Campaigns – Planning an upcoming event for your restaurant? Last minute changes? Luckily social media plans can be edited online within a matter of seconds, ensuring that your customers will get the correct information quickly. 
  • Ongoing Interaction – Whether positive or negative feedback, it is important that you acknowledge criticism and be openly grateful that you are listening to your customers. By taking the time to read and respond to comments, you can learn a lot about your audience is enjoying and what they want to see more of. 

From GrubHub, 45% of customers say they’ve tried out a new restaurant after seeing its post on social media. Everyone loves having something to celebrate. Incorporating micro food holidays into your social media strategy can lead hungry diners to check out your cuisine. 


#ShareSweetness on social media! 

The purpose of our toolkit is to provide insights, tips, and resources for promoting your offerings on social media. Let us help you connect with takeout and delivery customers and build higher check averages through the lusciousness of Sweet Street desserts. From our Sweet Street Fall/Winter Mix-Up magazine, 60% of American consumers order delivery at least once a week which leads to 40% of restaurant revenue that makes up for online orders. 

Leveraging social media is one of the most affordable and effective ways to promote your restaurant and build customer loyalty. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising. Using go-to hashtags like #ShareSweetness can help encourage your customers to mention your restaurant in their own posts. 

Check out our Social Media Toolkit for more marketing solutions!

Social media has completely revamped the way we build connections. It lends a helping hand to many who need support or services when it comes to digital marketing. Most importantly, it has opened doors for various industries to gain the exposure they need to build a thriving business. 

All businesses should utilize social media marketing practices. By doing so, they can maximize opportunities, reach people in need, and provide the resources to drive more business and revenue.

Resources: Diner Study, Aging of Social Media, Social Media Holidays

The post Social Media & the Restaurant Industry appeared first on Sweet Street Desserts.

Cranberries: Health Benefits & LTO Favorites

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Cranberries, a small tart fruit, commonly used in baking to make juice and cranberry sauce, penetrates 41.2% of all US menu’s. While they have a short season, it is best to get them fresh in the grocery store around mid-October. They are grown primarily in the northeastern states and are harvested mid-September and October. As some describe them as bitter and sour, they stay fresh from October through December, which is why we only see them around the holidays. It’s never too early to start freezing some!

Fall is the time to get to know these tart berries and their wealth of nutritional benefits. From immunity to brain health, cranberries are worth adding to your healthy eating routine and/or to add to your Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts as they add a sweet, tart tang to delicious sweets. 

People call cranberries a superfood for a good reason; They have all kinds of health-boosting benefits: 

  • Immune system benefits
  • Cardiovascular system benefits
  • Anti-cancer benefits
  • Digestive benefits

Immunity Benefits:

  • Cranberries are one of the top antioxidant foods. As it is rich in vitamin C, this will help keep your immune system healthy and functioning properly. They also contain five categories of natural chemical compounds, known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. 

Cardiovascular Benefits:

  • These berries have a concentrated source of both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. A study from Food & Function, included 45 men who either consumed cranberry powder equivalent to 100g of fresh cranberries per day, or a placebo for one month. Those who consumed the cranberries, had significant progress in flow-mediated dilation (FMD) that signals improvement of heart and blood vessel function. 
  • The results in this study demonstrated consumption of cranberries as part of a healthy diet that can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving blood vessel function. 

Anti-Cancer Benefits:

  • Cranberries provide an average amount of vitamin C, but the main source of cranberries potential for cancer prevention comes from the package of phenolic compounds. This includes polyphenols that are found in the berries as well as a unique type of proanthocyanidin. From the University of Rochester Medical Center, “proanthocyanin may protect the heart and cardiovascular system. They may work as antioxidants and block nitrosamines from forming. They work with vitamin C to lower the risk of breast cancer, reduce the risk of blood clots, and may lower the risk of a heart attack. 
  • Individuals may differ in cancer protection from cranberries as many of the compounds are complex molecules that are broken down by gut microbes.

Digestive Benefits: 

  • Consuming cranberries have played a role in traditional treatments for the protection against urinary tract infections (UTI’s). They are the most common bacterial infections that are among women. They are mostly caused by E. coli which attaches itself to the inner surface of your bladder and urinary tract.
  • Native Americans were the first to use the cranberries for their medical conditions such as complaints, including blood disorders, stomach ailments, liver problems, and fever. 

Holiday & Menu Additions:

Want to be creative for the upcoming holidays or add desserts to your fall menu? Here’s how you can incorporate cranberries with our desserts. 

NY Cheesecake & Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce – An elegant New York cheesecake topped with a festive touch of a luscious cranberry- pomegranate sauce. Great for romantic fall dessert menus.

Iced Vanilla Bean Cupcake w/ Raspberries: Our natural, buttery vanilla cake filled with a vanilla bean-flecked cream and finished off with fresh cranberries. Perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties.

Resources: Health Benefits, Cranberry Facts, Cancer Research

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Pumpkin Season

It’s pumpkin season! The star of autumn, our fall celebrity. Pumpkins are more than a cute decoration for suburban homes or Instagram-worthy activities. These famous gourds are a robust source of nutrients with medicinal properties. This is the time of year when customers jump on their favorite pumpkin-flavored LTO’s returning to the menu. Here’s a few reasons to incorporate pumpkin flavors in your restaurant’s menu concepts. 

Nutritional Benefits

Research has found several health benefits of pumpkins including the positive effects on stabilizing blood sugar and its ability to lower blood pressure, serve as an antioxidant, and decrease inflammation and fight chronic disease. The seeds are high in protective essential fatty acids and amino acids. While the pumpkin fruit is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals ranging from potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B6, iron, selenium and the precursor to vitamin A, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene can help boost immunity and protect against sun damage and conditions that may negatively affect eye health. Speaking of eye health, pumpkins also contain two additional phytonutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been linked to lowering the risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Menu Additions

The nutrient density of pumpkin leads to versatility in the kitchen. Pumpkin can be used in a range of dishes and with many different flavor pairings that will spice up your recipes. The soft sweetness of a pumpkin makes it a fan favorite in custard, pies and pancakes. It works equally as well in savory dishes such as soups and pastas. Here are some ideas for incorporating pumpkin into your seasonal menu:

  • Season chopped pumpkin with fresh or dried herbs and throw it on the grill.
  • Simply sprinkle a spice blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger on your roasted pumpkin.  
  • Add brown sugar, molasses and walnuts to pumpkin pancakes.
  • Use onion and garlic in a pumpkin squash ravioli, soup or chili.
  • Puree pumpkin to use as a festive baking ingredient instead of eggs or oil.
  • Combine canned pumpkin with coconut milk and spice for a curry base.

Transformational Fall Toppings:

Pumpkin Chai Caramel Sauce: The iconic flavor and nutritional value of Pumpkin make it a favorite among bakers. This chai infused recipe is easy to cook-up and enjoy atop our NY Cheesecake or your favorite dessert, even delicious drizzled on fresh, crisp apple slices.

Pumpkin Whipped Cream: Quick and simple whipped cream recipe with spiced pumpkin folded in. Whip it up and top your favorite holiday dessert!

Salted Caramel Apple Pasta w/ Pumpkin Cream Sauce: Mixing our three favorite things: pasta, fall, and dessert.

Carrot Cake Corn Dogs w/ Pumpkin Sauce: A unique fall LTO bar guests will love!

Seasonal flavors, like pumpkin, offer a sense of comfort. Nostalgic seasonal flavors are widespread on LTO menus and some become so popular they stick around year-long. Pumpkin spice can trigger pleasant memories in your customers, so make one or two of these additions to your menu this fall and appeal to the masses.

Resources: HoustonChronicle | NutritionalOut

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Raise Your Spirits w/ Non-Alcoholic Bevvies

By blog, Dessert Enhancement, Interesting Facts Comments Off on Raise Your Spirits w/ Non-Alcoholic Bevvies

Something for everyone, from functional to flirty. Non-alcoholic beverages are on the rise. According to NielsenIQ, sales of non-alcoholic beverages jumped 32% in the past year, while non-alcohol spirits have grown 114% during the same period.

Pairing beverages with dessert enhances the after-dinner experience, complementing a slice of pie or contrasting the cheesecakes flavor. Coupling something bold and new with a classic – tried and true – is a great way to embrace trends while catering to your guests curiosity and cravings.

Popular Pairings for Every Stage of the Menu Adoption Cycle

New York Cheesecake with Golden Milk

New York Cheesecake (0021) paired with Golden Milk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Original Cheesecake Xango (7944) paired with Mexican Hot Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (0620) paired with Earl Grey Tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon Crumb Cake (EZ8 1526) paired with Spieced Mint Iced Tea w/ Lyre's Italian Spritz (non-alc spirit)

Cinnamon Crumb Cake (EZ8 1526) paired with Spieced Mint Iced Tea w/ Lyre’s Italian Spritz (non-alc spirit)

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Menu Hacks: The Psychology Behind Menu Design

By blog, Industry News, Interesting Facts, menu design, restaurant industry Comments Off on Menu Hacks: The Psychology Behind Menu Design

Your most valuable piece of marketing as a restaurant owner is a thoughtfully designed menu. It advertises your offerings while increasing your restaurant’s profitability. Menu engineering is the strategic process of designing a menu to maximize profits. It requires analyzing profitable and your most popular menu items. Using menu psychology techniques to highlight these items, restaurants can construct menus in the most effective way.

First, you must analyze menu items to find the most popular and profitable, which is important since you’ll be constructing your menu around these items. Ensure that your menu is priced correctly for maximum profits and understand item popularity using the menu matrix. After analyzing your menu items and pricing them appropriately, the fun can begin with these designing hacks.

Scannability

The first component to consider in menu design is its scannability. Therefore, restaurateurs want to grab guests’ attention with their high profit items. The research shows that customers are likely to order one of the first items that draw their attention. Since guests only spend an average of 109 seconds looking at your menu, it must be designed for guests to easily find key items aka scannable.

You want to avoid crowded layouts, limit item choices, and create a natural flow. Do you ever get overwhelmed at the sight of too many options? This is the psychological theory known as the “paradox of choice,” which assumes that the more options we have, the more anxiety we feel, whereas too little options make consumers feel misrepresented. The golden number for food options is 7 per category. Anything over seven items can ambush customers and lead to confusion, and confusion can cause them to revert to their “usual” by default instead of trying a new menu item. There is no shame in sticking with what you know, but a well-designed menu will entice you to try something different or more expensive.

  • Limit Options.Psychologists suggest that restaurateurs limit options per category to the golden number, around 7 items, based on the theory, “paradox of choice”. Limiting options can increase perceptions that consumers made the right choice, which in turn brings customers back. in an industry where repeat customers account for about 70% of sales, getting diners to return is the ultimate goal. (Mental Floss)
  • Declutter. Avoid crowded layouts and choose easy-to-read fonts and font sizes. Stick with visible dish titles and clear sections.
  • Location, location, location! Psychologists have studied consumer eye patterns and found that our eyes tend to move to the center of the menu first, then move on to the top right corner, followed by the top left corner. This is known as “The Golden Triangle”. Place your most profitable menu items in these prime real estate locations (Webstaurant)
  • Use glossaries if needed. Some patrons may feel intimidated by unfamiliar names and be deterred from ordering fancy-sounding dishes. A glossary can give more context so guests feel confident that they’re making an informed decision and the right choice.

Sensibility

Next, consider the menu’s ability to tap into the customer’s senses. Do the food items catch your eye? Does the menu evoke emotion? According to restaurant consultant Aaron Allen, colors can conjure different types of feelings and “motivate” behavior. For example; blue has a calming effect, while red can stimulate appetite and a sense of urgency, and yellow draws our attention. Entertain the use of borders, shaded boxes, and white space to highlight specific and profitable items. Crowding your menu with photos can cheapen the feel of a menu, but a nice-looking picture alongside a food item can increase sales by 30%.

Another tactic is writing longer, more detailed descriptions that persuade customers they are getting more for their dollar. According to a Cornell study, researchers found that more detailed descriptions sold nearly 30% more food. Customers also rated those items as tasting better. “People taste what you tell them they’re tasting” says menu engineer, Gregg Rapp (Mental Floss). So tell them a story! Detail dishes with verbiage that describes where it’s sourced and how it’s prepared to be effective in increasing the perception of quality in the items.

  • Use color. Choose a color scheme that reflects your sales and marketing objective. People emotionally respond to color, subconsciously, which can influence their behavior. You can use bright colors, which capture attention and trigger appetite, to draw focus to specific arrears of your menu.
  • Use photos. Use professional photography in your menu, but do it sparingly. People respond to images on display like they would if the plate was right in front of them and if you’re hungry the response is “I’ll have that!”
  • It’s all about semantics! Mind the language that you use to describe your dishes and tell a story. Adjectives like “line-caught,” “farm-raised,” or “locally-sourced” are big turn-ons for customers and can increase the perception of quality.
  • Make it nostalgic. Touching past time-periods can trigger happy memories of their childhood, family or traditions. “Grandma’s Chicken Soup” or “Campfire Hot Cocoa” stir feelings of comfort and closeness.

Another trick is to create space around high-profit items by putting them in boxes or otherwise separating them from the rest of the options. “When you put in a pocket of negative space, you pull the eye there,” writes Allen. “Putting negative space around an item can call attention to it and help you sell it” (Mental Floss).

Profitability

Finally, circle back to your menu’s profitability. Perspective is everything when considering menu design. Author of Priceless, William Poundstone, reveals the psychology behind menus, stating ”ultimately, it’s about minimizing the focus on price”. Making price tags as inconspicuous as possible, we can encourage guests to spend more. A Cornell University study found that written-out prices also encourage guests to spend more. Here’s a few more hacks that are designed to increase your menu’s profit potential.

  • Avoid dollar signs. Currency indicators are a pain point that remind customers they are spending money and make them feel like they are spending more than they actually are. Soften the price by eliminating the dollar sign.
  • Avoid price trails. Price trails are dotted lines that connect your menu items to their price and are the cardinal sin of menu design. This takes the focus away from your dish description and straight to the price instead. Try “nested” pricing, prices that are listed discreetly after the meal description in the same font size, so consumer eyes glide right over it (Mental Floss).
  • Avoid price columns. Placing prices in a column will draw focus to the cost of the food, instead of the dish itself, which could lead guests to choose the cheapest items on the menu.
  • Use price decoys. A price “decoy” is a menu item that would seem overly expensive to guests, placed near high profit margin items. This gives the perception, when compared to the decoy, that customers are getting a deal, a “better bang for their buck”.
  • Sandwich your menu items. D Studies show that customers tend to notice and order the top two items or the last item of each section more often than other items. Place your most profitable items at the top of the list and one at the bottom to optimize your menu categories.

Final thoughts

Guests will scan your menu in less than 2 minutes on average, which means you have a small window to set the menu’s tone for customer satisfaction and optimal profit. Using these psychological tactics of menu design, to revamp your menu can greatly improve your restaurant’s profits and guest experience. Our Sweet Street Design Suite provides you with the expertise and tools to sell more.

 

 

Sources: Aaron Allen | WebstauranteStore | Canva | Mental Floss | The Sydney Morning Herald

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