We hear from countless operators around the country and often find questions in common. One that comes up regularly is about attracting a younger customer base.
Question: “What do you recommend when it comes to menu ideas that appeal to younger diners and staff?” – Healthcare Operator, Illinois
Answer: If you want to attract younger patrons, consider tapping into some recent food trends among Gen Z and Millennials.
Plant-Based Continues to Grow
Keep the Comfort Food Coming
of millennials said nostalgia motivates their purchase.2
of Gen Z said tacos are comfort food.2
of younger generations said ramen is comfort food.2
Snack the Day Away
“Snack options are particularly important to Millennial and Gen Z consumers.3 Operators should think differently about portions, variety and packaging.4
To help you reach younger diners and staff, Tony Finnestad, Executive Chef of the Foodservice Group at Hormel Foods, has created a variety of menu ideas inspired by the food trends above.
Stuff griddled corn cakes with HAPPY LITTLE PLANTS®Plant-Based Chorizo Style Crumbles, shredded mozzarella or Oaxaca cheese and roasted squash. Serve with cabbage slaw and avocado salsa. Omit the cheese for a fully vegan offering.
Plant-Powered Buddha Bowl:
Start with Kamut or Quinoa and add roasted portabella mushrooms, sautéed spinach, charred cherry tomatoes, grilled onion, HAPPY LITTLE PLANTS® Plant-Based Italian Style Crumbles and lemon vinaigrette.
Sweet Potato Tacos:
Fill griddled corn tortillas with avocado salsa, roasted sweet potatoes, cilantro-jicama slaw and flash-fried CAFÉ H® Chicken Carnitas.
Chili Crunch Garlic Noodles:
Toss ramen noodles with chile crisps, toasted garlic, scallions and basil. Top with pickled Fresno chiles and HORMEL® FIRE BRAISED™ Chicken Breast or HORMEL® FIRE BRAISED™ Flank Steak.
SPAM® Fried Rice Arancini:
Mix fried rice with diced SPAM® Classic and roll into balls. Bread in panko and deep fry. Serve with chili soy dip.
You can add endless filling combinations to these Roman-style handheld pizza pockets. Try them with FONTANINI® Meatballs and marinara sauce or pistachio pesto. Top with mozzarella or parmesan cheese.
1 “7 Foods and Lifestyle Trends That Will Define 2021”, Forbes, 2021
2 “The Simply Smarter Webinar: The Amazing Trends Episode”, Datassential, 2021
3 “Decision Drivers in Supermarket Prepared Foods”, Progressive Grocer, 2020
4 “The Gen-Z 2021 diet is here: Meet the three biggest food trends of this generation”, Lifestyle Asia, 2021