Tag Archives: food industry

Fast-Food Industry Campaign to Win Back Millennials

When  you do a Google search for Millennials, the definition of the term is first on the page, but scroll down and you find articles on how Millennials are impacting the world. Headlines include “Where are Millennials?” or “The Millennials Are Coming!”. There are even articles on tips for successfully marketing to the generation. With many fast food restaurants experiencing decline in sales, research is pointing to Millennials as one of the factors.  Sources like the Business Insider and Wall Street Journal, report that young consumers are moving away from fast food and dining in at casual restaurants instead. Casual restaurants like Chipotle or Panera Bread and ones with healthier options. So what are fast food restaurants doing to combat this trend and win back Millenials? McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and even Burger King are taking on the challenge and implementing new marketing strategies to bring back a vital customer. Even if you aren’t in the fast food industry, the tactics these restaurants are using can be utilized for any food service establishment.

Reaching Customers Wherever, Whenevertaco-bell-app-twitter-hed-2014

If you follow Taco Bell on any social media site, you will get the message pictured to the right. Taco Bell has launched a new mobile payment and ordering app and blacked all their social media. This campaign was done to get attention in a surprising way from core customers who use social media. Taco Bell isn’t the only fast food restaurant working to make the industry mobile. Many restaurants are developing their own mobile ordering app to appeal to the Millennials who are on-the-go and want to be able to order their food and eliminate waiting in lines. The fast food industry is also enticing customers to sign up by offering special offers and deals exclusive to the app.

Instead of leaving social media, Burger King is utilizing the platform more than ever to stay relevant. Burger King’s strategies to bring back Millennials involve using nostalgia and staying current on social media . Burger King has used their social media sites to hype up the resurrection of the beloved chicken fries. In an attempt to appeal to those who loved chicken fries when they were younger, Burger King used Vine as way to grab the young consumers’ attention.  Instead of waiting for the customers to come to them, Burger King sought out the best platforms to reach Millennials and made sure their content was in line with current pop culture.

 Changing Up the Menu

McDonald’s has not only seen a decline in sales, but a decline of Millennials choosing their restaurant. Some have speculated that McDonald’s large menu could be to blame because too many options can be overwhelming. McDonald’s growing menu has added more “healthier” options due to the growing health conscious trend. Although they advertised their new healthier options with fresh vegetables, the sales still came up flat. Recently McDonald’s has taken a step back and said that they will be narrowing down their menu. Their newest campaign and attempt to be more transparent takes skeptics and reveals to them how their food is made and what is really in it. The campaign titled “Our Food, Your Questions”, includes advertisements of people asking about the infamous pink slime chicken nuggets and the grey frozen McRib. We will see in the next coming months how this pans out and if it appeals to Millennials or not.

Wendy’s may not be showing us what is in their food, but they are taking more risks with their menu. From the pretzel bacon cheeseburger to a variety of salads to the recent BBQ options, Wendy’s is trying to draw in the younger crowd by having not only more options, but unique ones. Their advertisements also reflect their effort by showing a group of young friends enjoying Wendy’s together and having a good time. Whether its with their modern redhead Wendy’s spokeswoman or ads with love songs dedicated to menu items, Wendy’s is customizing their marketing campaigns around Millennials.

Shop Central

Whether you’re a franchisee or have your own local restaurant, Central can equip you with the right tools to keep your business running smoothly. Check out our website or call one of our helpful Product Consultants at 800-215-9293.


The Food Industry Is Raising Awareness for National Breast Cancer Month

“Think Pink”. It’s a phrase we’ve all heard before, and now that it’s October and National Breast Cancer Awareness month, we’ll hear it even more. Many businesses have teamed up for the fight against breast cancer, including the restaurant industry.

The possibilities seem endless for some companies to create special products to raise money and awareness for the widespread battle against breast cancer. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985, and companies have been creative with helping in the campaign ever since. Products ranging from specially colored pink food to coffee mugs are sprouting up across the country to raise money for charities. The product that may have started the pink craze across the food industry is Yoplait’s pink lids on yogurt. General Mills is expanding their pink lid line to include Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Bisquick and cereal boxes. Panera Bread is selling pink bagels, Caribou Coffee is releasing a special line of coffee, tea and merchandise and Chop’t’s “Pink Goddess Salad” is being sold in October. Fazoli’s is adding a new pink drink specially made for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Dutch Bros. Coffee will be selling specially marked travel mugs.

Some of the particularly innovative creations range from East Coast Wings & Grill’s pink tortilla chips and salsa and beer koozies, to Envolve Winery’s “Real Men Drink Pink” campaign to kitchenware and tools for your home. Certain restaurants in Chicago, IL, are giving customers the option to donate one dollar or more to their check to benefit charity.

There are many ways the food industry can lend a huge helping hand in raising awareness and shedding more light on the breast cancer awareness initiative. Purchasing a specially marked product, or dining and donating at a restaurant gives consumers the option to help out, and possibly learn more about the issue.

For more information about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, click here.

5 Restaurant and Foodservice Industry Trends

The foodservice industry is constantly evolving.  One minute we’re focused on one thing, then six months down the road something new pops up.  In our 2011 “end of year” foodservice trends and predictions review, quite a few trends have really stuck such as mobile ordering devices, local food and double-sided menus (menus that separate healthy and unhealthy, such as McDonald’s recent “Favorites Under 400“).  Then there are other trends we haven’t heard much about such as plate shapes.

So as you can see, a lot can change in eight months.  Here are some of the latest trends, and we hope you will share what you are seeing in our comment section below.

Pop-Up Restaurants

Food trucks aren’t the only form of mobile food, pop-up restaurants are too.  A pop-up restaurant is a temporary dining experience that can be used for a chef to try out different menu items, a landlord wishing to rent out space during downtime or a dining experience for an event such as the pop-up Goodness, which lasted the duration of New York’s fashion week in February.

However Intuit doesn’t say pop-ups are anything new, because they have been around for quite a long time.  They are starting to show true staying power though.  Perhaps it’s because  it’s cheaper to start a pop-up than to open a restaurant, it’s a great way to test out an idea or maybe there is something to be said for the power of social media to draw customers.

Upscale Kids Menus

Quinoa, black bean and corn salad, stuffed zucchini boats, pesto pasta, apple oat balls and felafel wraps are just five of the 54 winning entries of the first Kids’ State Dinner hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama on August 20.  Just to reiterate, these ideas weren’t whipped up by professional chefs with years of experience, but just children.  With the new USDA guidelines for schools and an overall push for better eating habits, restaurants have started to pick up on revamping kids menus and provide out of the box menu ideas.  For instance Applebees offers a grilled chicken sandwich with a variety of sides (the side advertised being broccoli) and Ruby Tuesday offers kids chop steak with broccoli and white cheddar mashed potatoes.  These menus are much more advanced compared to the days of cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries and macaroni and cheese.

Gen Y Changing the Game

A recent Food Management article looked closely at Packaged Fact’s  “Collegiate Gen Y eating: Culinary Trend Mapping Report” and it appears that college-aged Gen Y’ers (18 to 22) are starting to define new trends in food.  According to Food Management, it’s because of the way they are exposed to new foods and they predict these trends will stay because the foodservice industry will have to adapt once all these students enter the workforce.

The report found students “are nutritionally minded, crave flavorful foods, look for comfort and indulgence and need speed and convenience.”  Some recent foods or trends that have been introduced in college foodservices have been going meatless, chickpeas, different fruits and vegetables, Asian cuisine, comfort foods (such as Italian or Mexican) and foods one can eat while on the go.

Awareness of Food Allergies and Diet Restrictions on Menus

This section isn’t necessarily a trend, but restaurants are starting to pay more attention to food allergies and dietary restrictions and take them more seriously.  Even as far back as a couple years ago, people weren’t thinking about gluten-free.  Today?  Several restaurants include gluten-free items on their menu.  But food allergy awareness extends further than the menu.  In the back of the house, restaurants have to ensure people with severe food allergies remain safe.  Many restaurants have put procedures in place while others are still learning and take food allergies on a case by case basis.  To help, manufacturers of foodservice products have begun to create products to help with food allergies, such as San Jamar’s Allergen Saf-T-Zone cutting boards.  Then when it comes to just health or dietary restrictions, restaurants are including nutritional information or helpful guides to help diners make informed choices on the food they eat.  For instance noting an entree is low calorie or low fat.  Others may let customers know an item has a low amount of sodium.

Local and Sustainability

Consumers are really starting to care more about where their food comes from, how it’s grown, what the animals they may consume are eating, etc.  Over the last couple years there has been a rise in locally sourced food.  This rise went as high as restaurants going “hyper-local,” where they grow their own food.  It provides customers with a fresh product while keeping it in a community.

Then there is the other side of the spectrum where people and/or restaurants care about where their meat comes from and what the animal is eating.  There are some individuals that can tell a difference in taste between a grass fed cow and corn fed cow.  In a Forbes article, they said people “can now buy specialized breeds, meats raised on different diets, and those without antibiotics or hormones in just about every major city.”

What changes are you seeing in the foodservice industry? Restaurants, schools, etc.?  Please share below!