Guests are gravitating more towards healthier menu items, and restaurateurs are hearing their demands.
It’s no surprise that 1 in 3 Americans eat fast food on a daily basis. With often such hectic schedules between work schedules, family lives, and personal time, many people just don’t have the time to make it home for a meal, and have even less urgency to prepare one ahead of time to take on-the-go. Resulting in whatever dinner options are along the evening’s route are understandably necessary, especially after a long day. Lately, researchers (and restaurateurs) are finding that the average diner’s needs have shifted in what they are more prone to order at restaurants. While the demand in the kitchen used to be primarily comfort foods and the-greasier-the-better selections, these days, guests are gravitating more towards healthier menu items, and restaurateurs are hearing these demands.
According to Restaurant.org, a 2017 study calculated that 70 percent of consumers admit that the availability of healthy options does influence where they eat out. Restaurant goers find themselves more thoroughly researching menus, making conscientious decisions about what they order as opposed to choosing the dish that jumps out at them, which is often the one coupled with a visual image next to it reeling you in with its delicious looks. Two years ago these greasy items were the popular choice among diners searching for a quick, affordable bite. Today, people want to become more knowledgeable about the products going into their food, and where it came from, and in part we have the younger generation to thank for our pickier selections. Millennials and Generation Xers are more likely to choose restaurants based on the availability of healthy, locally sourced or environmentally-friendly foods. This is why you may have noticed some of your favorite eateries introducing nutrition information on their menus. When faced with the choice of two similar restaurants to dine out, 74 percent of Millennials would choose the one that offered the healthier options, while 66 percent of baby boomers said that healthy options would sway their restaurant choice as well.
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It seems that that the younger generation has health on the brain! And for those of you not sure which age group you’re categorized in, Millennials are those born between 1981 and 1996 (those currently within ages 23 to 38). Generation Xers are those born between 1965 and 1980 (38-53 years old), and baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, which would make them between 54 and 72 years old.
If you are a Millennial or Generation Xer with health on the forefront, it may be a good idea to settle on the western coast of the United States as that seems to dominate the health-food scene. In a blog post published by Vitagene, 6 of the top 10 cities that demonstrate the highest concern for healthy eating are on the West Coast, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, California. Overall Atlanta, Georgia topped off at number one in the country with 151.97 healthy restaurants per 100,000 people located there. If your mouth waters at just the thought of cheeseburgers and pizza, Washington D.C. probably serves up some of your favorite foods. It was dubbed the worst city overall for healthy eating with only 3.11 healthy eateries per 100,000 people located in its city limits.
Regardless of your thoughts on healthy-eating it may be beneficial for your restaurant to incorporate some healthy options into your menu. Successful restaurants meet the demands of the consumer, and customers are craving hearty, healthy meals!
About the Author: Courtney Ciandella has been the sole Marketing liason for Bielat Santore & Company since 2013. She is also the conductor behind the Who’s Who in the Restaurant Industry and Restaurant Tip of the Month series.