Spring Forward: Foodservice Operators Set the Table for Sales Growth

Posted in Trends on March 7, 2023

davey-gravy-krsKfCC1lYw-unsplashWith the holidays behind us and all the jingle from all the sales of the season gone silent, there’s a lull that lends itself to spring fever. No wonder, then, foodservice operators are already turning their attention to spring, a fresh season of growth and renewal, with a new round of holidays that pile their plates high with opportunities to rejuvenate business

The truth is, with St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) not so far off, now may be the perfect time to pour thought into how to ensure spring business reaches full bloom. Last year, as the pandemic receded, 54% of consumers surveyed planned to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, with an average expected spend of $42.33 ($5.87 billion total), according to the National Retail Federation.1 This year, with the pandemic fading even further, the pot of gold for foodservice operators could be even bigger. 

Beer varieties spike on restaurant beverage menus for St. Patrick’s Day. On average, 45 new beers are introduced at top restaurant chains in March, exceeding any other month, reports the market research firm Datassential.2 

Variety is a key sales driver. Some foods associated with St. Patrick’s Day have trended downward on menus, including Irish Coffee (-7), corned beef (-9) and Guinness (-9),2 but falloffs present opportunities to bring fresh twists to the table. Inventive options like corned-beef tacos and Guinness-sauced pizza could appeal to flavor adventurers while retaining the nostalgia of traditional St. Patrick’s options.

St. Patrick Day mashup concepts that have scored high in the Datassential SCORES database, which parses consumer ratings for new menu items, include the Krispy Kreme Leprechaun Trap Doughnut (99th percentile for uniqueness) and the Guinness & Bacon Jam Burger from Hard Rock Cafe (79th percentile consumer purchase intent).2 For a fun and flavorful alcohol-free drink the whole family can enjoy, try our recipe for Mint Milkshake made with OREO.

Scrambling for Sales: Operators Get a Crack at Big Brunch Business

Easter (April 9) follows on the heels of St. Patrick’s Day, and operators are quick to hop to it and make the most of a spring holiday where the stakes are even higher. The National Retail Federation reports that 80% of consumers surveyed played to celebrate Easter last year. Average expected spending was $169.70 for a total projected spend of $20.8 billion.3

Expect brunch to be back in a big way, but be mindful of price sensitivity. Datassential research shows that blintzes, strawberry waffles, grits, buttermilk biscuits and hotcakes are must-have spring and Easter breakfast dishes.4 Bear in mind that April is the top month for introducing new salads at major restaurant chains.4 For a tasty better-for-you option, try our recipe for Kale Salad with RITZ Crackers Parmesan Crisp.

But don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Be ready with off-site-friendly options like delivery and takeout meals, meal kits and catering offers.

Mother’s Day (May 14) may be the mother of all spring holidays, with by far the highest average expected spending ($245.76) and total projected spending ($31.7 billion) for 2022.5 Similar to Easter, Mother’s Day is sure to bring brunch back in full force, with a renewed emphasis on indulgent options like lobster and classics like eggs Benedict. Consider burgers (beloved by nearly 89% of customers surveyed6), customized for seasonality with brunch proteins, colby, pork belly, mushroom and andouille. 

For an indulgence as sweet as mom herself, check out our recipe for Banana Pancakes made with Chunky CHIPS AHOY! Cookie Pieces. 

The acclaimed chefs at Mondelēz Foodservice specialize in helping operators maximize seasonal sales. Browse our Culinary Center for a wide range of spring recipes across dayparts and segments. Have a specific menu challenge? Looking to optimize your selection of offers for spring? Connect with us below.

 

 

1 National Retail Federation, St. Patrick’s Day Data Center, 2022

2 Datassential, Food Industry Trend Report: St. Patrick’s Day 2021

3 National Retail Federation, Easter Data Center, 2022

4 Datassential, Food Industry Trend Report: Spring & Easter 2022

5 National Retail Federation, Mother’s Day Data Center, 2022

6 Datassential, Food Industry Trend Report: Mother’s Day & Spring 2022

 

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