Added value – in a world of discounts, something besides price has to get your customers in the door. It’s the new reality facing the food service industry these days, and many restaurants have already started devising ways to go the extra mile for customers.
Soon enough restaurants will be required to post nutrition information about each item they serve. Study after study has shown that consumers prefer to have nutritional information available about the dishes they order – whether that information is good news for their diet or not.
Some restaurants have taken the trend towards healthier menu items and nutrition labeling and used it as a way to add value for their customers. Moon Under Water, a restaurant in St. Petersburg, FL developed a computer program that allows you to punch in your meal and get back a full report of nutritional data about your choices.
The program doesn’t mean the restaurant’s high-calorie items don’t sell anymore, or that customers have been turned off by the numbers on their favorite dishes. Instead, putting the program together helped Moon Under Water’s owner find some particularly unhealthy ingredients, like high sodium stocks, and replace them with healthier substitutes. Many customers were surprised by the relatively low calorie counts of the dishes they ordered.
Mod Market, an eatery located in Boulder, CO, adds nutritional information to the items customers ordered on their receipt. The restaurant is focused on fresh, healthy offerings, and adding calorie counts to the receipt gives them an opportunity to remind customers what they’re getting (or not getting, in the case of calories) out of a Mod Market meal.
These two restaurants gain two things from making nutritional information an after-meal interactive experience for customers. First, it’s a way to showcase the menu and reinforce your brand in the mind of the customer. Second, it gives restaurants a fresh look on their menus. What items are customers ordering despite the high calorie count (“indulgence” items)? Which items are customers choosing because they work into their diets well? This gives you a third factor besides price and taste to rate your menu.
Naturally, providing nutrition information in the way Moon Under Water and Mod Market are doing doesn’t make sense for every segment of the food service industry. But if you serve a customer who sees a real benefit in knowing the nutritional information associated with the dishes they ordered, providing a creative, interactive way for them to access this information is a great way to add value to every visit.