Restaurants offer new items, willing to partner with suppliers
By Janie Gabbett on Meatingplace.com 11/21/2008
As the failing economy continues to take its toll on the foodservice industry, restaurants are changing menu options at a record pace and are willing to partner with suppliers on new items, according to foodservice consulting firm Technomic.
Based on data collected through its MenuMonitor service, October saw the largest number of limited-time-offers (LTOs) and new menu items in the past five years among the top 250 chain restaurants.
"With consumers cutting back on eating out, restaurants needed to find new ways to bring customers through their doors," said Bernadette Noone, Senior Program Manager at Technomic. "Many chains are using LTOs as a cost-effective way to trial new items before doing large roll-outs."
Noone added that operators appear quite open to partnering with suppliers on new products with shorter lead times.
Technomic identified 547 new menu items, 40 percent higher than the monthly average for 2008. Of these, 157 were reported as "back" on the menu, 197 were LTOs, and 193 were new items.
By category, the largest number of new October items were lunch/dinner entrees (273 items), followed by desserts (96), appetizers (49), breakfast entrees (48), non-alcoholic beverages (29), and adult beverages (20). Side items (17), healthy items (12) and add-ons (3) rounded out the list.