The Great Menu Hack for Budget-Conscious Customers

The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in some unimaginable changes. Business as we knew it seems to have taken a toss as we scramble to stay relevant in the new normal. For restaurants who had a digital infrastructure in place, things have been relatively smoother but for those who did not, it has been a pretty rough ride. But either way, the pandemic has pushed every restauranteur to some form of introspection, and one area which has necessitated major rethinking is the menu.

When it comes to redesigning the menu to suit current demands, ‘value’, ‘convenience’ and ‘option’ are the keywords to swear by. And what better way than budget family meals to tick all these boxes?

Yes, family meals have become extremely popular, so much so that some have even dubbed this the ‘coronavirus cuisine’. While we hope the name doesn’t stick for too long, family-style meals are here to stay. Let’s understand why this menu hack is bringing in the big bucks and how you can incorporate this in your own restaurant.

Why are budget-friendly meals so popular right now?

At a time when delivery and takeout are the only safest way to dine from restaurants, operators have realized that offering budget combo meals that can feed a family of four or five have been doing really well in terms of sales. This doesn’t come as surprise given the current situation.

Here are some of the reasons why,

• With the shelter-in-place mandate, schools, and workplaces across America have remained shut and people have been huddled at home with their families. Cooking three meals a day is not viable for those working from home. Thus, instead of getting separate dishes for everyone, ordering in a combo deal that feeds the entire family seems like a more convenient option for many.

• Many Americans have suffered a dent in their household incomes during the pandemic. So affordable family meals come as a great option for those who are financially squeezed but still want to enjoy restaurant food.

• Customized family meals are not only economical but also add a touch of personalization when food choices have been considerably slashed for various reasons. Meals that offer value, as well as curation, are a win-win for all.

How are some restaurants doing budget meals?

The Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has launched its $34.99 Classic Family Pack which includes a pound each of pulled pork and beef brisket with beans, coleslaw, potato salad, six rolls, barbecue sauce, pickles, and onions.

Quick-service chain Shake Shack has introduced the Shackburger DIY kit for $49, which includes eight burger patties, eight potato buns, American cheese, and Shack Sauce.

Even many elite establishments have followed suit. One of them is n/Naka in Los Angeles that is selling bento boxes at a humble $38 whereas dinner there during normal times would typically cost $275.

This goes to show how restaurants of all sizes and shapes have been providing affordable family meals and have enjoyed great responses from customers. As long as the pandemic continues, this great menu hack will be a significant revenue generator.

How to make family meals work for you?

Bundling meals has always proved a success for restaurants but during the coronavirus situation, family meals have received even more popularity. Here are our top five tips to make family meals work for both you,

• Offer customization so that everyone can choose their favorites. Even something as simple as having options for beverages and sides can be attractive to customers.

• If customization is not viable for you then include some crowd-favorites in the bundle that caters to all tastes.

• You can further reduce the price for more budget-conscious customers by creating smaller portions of meals at lower prices.

• Offer item upgrades to increase average check size.

• Don’t complicate the meal and make it easy for the customers to understand exactly what’s included in the family and what customizations and upgrades are available.

Restolabs’ flexible menu design feature makes it extremely simple for restaurants to offer such family-style meals on their online ordering menu. Any changes in the dishes or prices can easily be updated on the website or mobile app. Customization options can also be added effortlessly. Click here to read how we helped one of our customers with their complicated and expansive delivery menu.