Lighter Fares in the New Year

February 7, 2013

Everyone’s catching on to the newest trend in restaurants and mobile cuisine, alike. Lighter fares are the newest stars of the show. We saw fast food chains catch on a few years back, but now restaurant chains are beginning to modify their menus to promote items that are healthier for their customers – due, of course, to customer demand.

There are a few reasons that your food truck should take heed, at least in part. These restaurants are gaining a competitive advantage over your business by having the ability to provide nutritional information to the customers. Even if your recipes are simple, most customers don’t want to take the time to calculate the calories or fat content of a burger from your grill. But that’s no problem – because you can do it for them.

You can develop any kind of system to show your customers how healthy a meal is or is not. For example, you can put a simple calorie count next to each item, the dishes fat content, or you can develop your own measurement system in which you use symbols to depict which items are healthy. Try designing a system that’s easy to understand. For instance, you may decide to use a simple picture of a running man next to your food truck’s items. The number of running men next to the item symbolizes how many hours of exercise it takes to burn off the meal.

Don’t just use this approach as a marketing tactic though. Make sure your attempts to create healthier meals and a more informed customer base are genuine. Once you commit to making your menu options healthier, realize that this is now part of your overall brand and concept.

Does this mean your mobile food stand should stop offering indulgent sweets? No. Instead, your business needs to understand the varying factors that motivate quick-service consumers. Currently, about 70% of consumers define indulgence as a dessert or sweet treat – not, as many individuals used to, as a filling, fattening meal. A report by Sandelman & Associates now recognizes that customers are increasingly falling into two camps: indulgence seekers and indulgence avoiders. And, your food truck should cater to both.

The easiest way to do so is to offer flavorful, healthy menu items in the main section, and more indulgent sweets and snacks in the sides and dessert sections. In general, sweet treats tend to work as an incremental sale that can create more money for your food truck. But offering more healthful options can also draw in the avoiders your food truck business could be missing. Having both options is key.