Traditional snacking options are being challenged
Snack innovation from behind the bar has remained somewhat static over the past few years, but brands are realising the opportunities presented within the £2.1bn market which sees an annual growth rate of 4.5%. 2019 has hosted the introduction of niche creative nibbles that can vamp up your pub menu whilst offering new experiences to your customer base.
A twist has been made one of the nation's favourite pub snacks, pork scratchings. A large twist in fact, the company 'Vegan Pig' has created the world's first vegan 'pork' scratchings. The innovative snack is made from soy, flash fried then seasoned with their own special 'no-pig' spice mix.
This comes at a time where individuals are becoming more aware of their diet but don't want to miss out on great taste. The UK is home to 22 million flexitarians, those who are open to vegetarian/vegan options buy remain meat eaters.
It's a match!
Food and drink have always gone hand in hand, expect this time it's not just the wine connoisseurs who are able to make the perfect pairing. New snack companies are making it easy for consumers to indulge whilst at the pub.
'Made for Drink' is a premium bar snack company whose products are suited perfectly for specific alcoholic drinks. Each of their four flavours; Duck Fritons, Chorizo Thins, Mangalitza Salami Chips and Patacones/Plantain Chips (100% plant-based) are made from authentic ingredients which enable their premium status. They are well established, already present in 600 outlets, from pubs to supermarkets. These snacks encourage people to come together in a social setting, they're a topic of interest and conversation amongst one another. The bold flavours encourage a 'why not?' attitude, if you've ordered the drink which matches the snack, you may as well experiment to see if the two go hand in hand.
Popularity of chicken
There was a 40% increase in the number of consumers visiting chicken outlets/restaurants in the last year which is phenomenal growth and signifies how popular chicken is as a food.
Healthy and sustainable methods of manufacturing play a key role in this growth as more affluent families are indulging in premium chicken options. According to the Estrella Food & Drinks Trend Report, customers are turning towards more reputable sources of eating, e.g. locally produced foods and sustainable supply chains.
The popularity of chicken provides pubs with the opportunity to capitalise on a wide customer demographic. The options for your restaurant or pub menu are endless, experiment with new flavours such as gourmet fried chicken, Korean or healthy grilled options. The premiumisation of chicken can help boost profits, so look to locally sourced suppliers or use new and exciting flavours to give your customers a reason to keep coming back.
Pub menu customisation
Coming up with new pub menu ideas can be hard when you have to consider customer appeal, cost and kitchen convenience, along with all of the other responsibilities of running a pub or pub kitchen. A nice idea that works well that we've seen in a number of pubs is customisation. What if you could adapt current menu items to suit every customer need, would you be interested? There's something quite exciting about the thought of being able to tailor a dish specifically to your taste buds, or even get creative and combine an array of different flavours. Deloitte Research found that at least one in three consumers want the ability to personalise their products and this trend is growing.
What type of personalisation?
Pubs and restaurants are beginning to offer more variety in their menus through customisation. Options like 'build your own burger', personalised pizzas and a host of other customisation options are springing up more frequently and for good reason.
Redhouse in Newcastle specialise in the simplicity of pies and ale. First, the consumer picks their pie, pairs it a potato side, picks their peas and finally chooses a gravy. The meal is just shy of £9 (without a drink) leaving plenty of margin for profitability.
Loaded fries is also another great opportunity for personalisation, particularly with wet led sales, sharing and snacking options. The level of customisation can include different types of fries, toppings, cheeses and sauces.
This type of personalised offer is great for pubs during quiz nights, sports events and even with big groups of people who want to add a dish 'for the table' to share different flavours between the group.
Another benefit of personalisation is that you can include vegetarian and vegan options without having to revamp your pub menu. According to the Waitrose Food and Drinks Report, there are 22 million flexitarians (those actively cutting down on meat) in the UK and this trend is growing as people grow more concerned about their health and the impact upon the environment from the production of meat.
Let's recap, what ideas were discussed for your pub menu?
Snacking has gone premium and with it the chance to boost profits. The variety of snacks behind the bar keeps your pub fresh and exciting which promotes customer interest. The unique flavours which pair so well with specific drinks can provide a pleasant experience which in turn will lead to repeated sales, boosting profitability from the bar. Small appetizers are also perfect to serve from behind the bar, they're social and fun, you can find a whole range of Aviko appetisers on our website.
Chicken is also more popular than ever with soaring 40% growth in people visiting chicken restaurants over the past 12 months. Chicken dishes are an obvious for your pub menu, however sourcing sustainable chicken is not only morally and ethically correct, it can act as a selling point to your consumers. People like to know where their food has come from and are willing to pay extra for free-range and local products so make it known that ingredients from your kitchen have been brought there in a sustainable way. Transparency sets the foundations of a relationship with your customer.
Another way to maintain a healthy and profitable relationship with customers is through menu customisation. By helping customers embark on an experience; they are willing to spend a premium for the exclusivity and by giving them power and control, every need can be catered for precisely to their specific tastes.
Carry on the conversation
How has your pub menu changed over the past few years? What snacks do your customers enjoy the most? Maybe you already have different forms of menu customisation if so, let us know, we love to hear feedback!
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