More than two-fifths of consumers report they visit specific restaurants because they enjoy the soup (46 percent) and salad (43 percent) these operations offers, reveals a new study by Technomic.
The Left Side of the Menu: Soup & Salad Consumer Trend Report also demonstrates that more than half of consumers (55 percent) say they order soup at restaurants at least sometimes, and 76 percent order salad with the same frequency.
For restaurants, the soup and salad's popularity is a double-edged sword. While consumers may choose an eatery based on a favorite soup or salad option, restaurants offering these provisions face considerable competition from the retail sector. In fact, 54 percent of consumers source soup from home at least once a week, states Technomic. It's vital for restaurant operators to emphasize uniqueness in order to keep soup and salad lovers coming through the door, says the research group.
"Soup and salad are traditional favorites, but consumers still expect variety and something different on the menu," says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. "Catering to consumers' need for variety when dining out—while also striking a balance between craveable, healthy, and innovative yet familiar offerings that justify price points—will be important in driving soup and salad purchases. Operators may also have room to ramp up soup and salad orders by promoting their appeal across dayparts and mealparts."
Other findings include:
- Half of consumers (51 percent) say it is important that soup is bundled with other items; 60 percent say the same regarding salad.
- Additionally, 58 percent of consumers say that they are more likely to order soup as a combo meal than as a single item.
- Fifty percent of consumers want to try new and unique soups. Further, more than a third (35 percent) of consumers say they purchase soup because they want to try new varieties; 21 percent say the same for salad.
- Ethnic and innovative soups, such as Asian-style ramen and chilled varieties, are poised for growth, particularly among younger consumers. Kale, chopped. and grain-based salads are trending forward at the restaurant-chain level.
By Joann Whitcher