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Please Choosy Snackers with Build-Your-Own Options

Seeing is believing, so it’s no surprise that many consumers prefer restaurants with open-kitchen formats that allow them to see their food being prepared. Full-view preparation feeds consumer confidence that a restaurant takes pride in its operations and the quality of its cuisine. Behind-the-scenes is behind the times: when it comes to food, today’s consumer wants to be front and center.

That explains the growing popularity of build-your-own concepts, especially among young consumers.1 Seeing your food being prepared is good; being able to mix and match foods according to personal preference is even better. Consumers are demanding the same control and freedom of choice from foodservice operators as they enjoy from other service providers. You can compile your own menu of TV shows and movies; why not be allowed to build your own meal at a restaurant?

Trained to expect personalized service, millennials have developed a sense of entitlement when it comes to controlling the food they eat at restaurants. To satisfy their appetite for greater choice and control, foodservice operators may want to apply the build-your-own model to snacking options.

After all, as we’ve pointed out in previous blog posts, snacking is no longer just a quick fix; it’s moved beyond a bite here and there to become a faster and more fun way to fuel up. Forbes reports that according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor data, snack” mentions on restaurant menus have jumped 97% over a two-year period.2 And now the term “snack” can vary widely, from grab-and-go bakery items to beverages to appetizers shared by a group of friends.

Adding snacking to the build-your-own mix is a recipe for success that more and more food operators are exploring.2 The nationwide surge in frozen yogurt chains with unlimited choices of toppings is an example of this trend. Other foodservice providers, like Skinny Piggy, are jumping on the bandwagon. The Chicago dessert shop lets you create your own cupcakes from more than 15 gourmet cake bases stuffed with fillings like banana pudding, then top them off with toasted coconut, chopped candy bars, candied bacon, and other treats.

Bottom line: If you’re a foodservice operator interested in scooping up more snackers, build-your-own may be the icing on the cake.

Have any build-your-own stories to share? Fill us in below!

1. Tristano, Darren, “Build-Your-Own Drives Industry Growth,” Technomic blog, June 3, 2015, https://blogs.technomic.com/build-your-own-drives-industry-growth

2. Tristano, Darren, “Are Build-Your-Own Snacks The Next Big Food Trend?” Forbes, March 4, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/darrentristano/2016/03/04/are-build-your-own-snacks-the-next-big-food-trend/#6392fd4380eb

Topics: Millennials, Demographic, snacks

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