Take into consideration two staggering statistics, courtesy of Datassential: 75 percent of consumers like it when mainstream restaurants menu ethnic-inspired foods. Additionally, 68 percent of Gen Z and millennials report having gone out of their way to try a novel, global food.
That means that, at a time when they need it most, operators can connect with the adventurous younger generations by leveraging global and ethnic-inspired menu items. These international foods often align with the nationwide growing desire for healthy yet filling offerings. For example, among the hottest menu trends over the past four years were various Mediterranean cuisines, which tend to use alternative proteins—like beans or legumes—and grew 80 percent on U.S. menus between 2014 and 2019, according to Dastassential.
“Now is a great time to build brand loyalty,” says Matt Luaders, director of research and development at CSSI Marketing + Culinary. “Younger diners are pushing trends on social media and getting out there and trying new items at restaurants, and that can be a great mode of free marketing at a time where it’s so scary for restaurants, with many closing. The restaurants that are making their bones right now are doing it with younger diners.”
But still, restaurants have to consider how new items will fit into their kitchen operations. In an attempt to streamline efficiency during the pandemic, many chefs and operators have had to shrink their menus to keep food inventory and labor costs down.
One of the ways Luaders has found success is in using Bush’s Beans line of Baked Beans and Easy Entrées. He says that beans are an example of how a single SKU can work across a menu and a wide variety of different cuisines, be it Latin American, Mediterranean, Indian, or others.
“One of the things I enjoy most about Bush’s Beans line of Easy Entrées is that they come pre-spiced,” Luaders says. “You can turn them into shareable dips, a chili, or really any menu item that requires beans with some kick. The key is that they are a versatile item helping operators stay on trend.”
The versatility of beans can also transcend dayparts. Bush’s Beans showcases low-labor recipes on its website, like huevos rancheros for the breakfast or brunch daypart or a cumin chickpea salad for lunch. In fact, one of the reasons Luaders enjoys using Bush’s products is because of the company’s all-around expertise in the field and the fact that it’s a reputable brand name that has been in the business for over 100 years.
“Bush Brothers is a trusted retail brand in retail and foodservice,” Luaders says. “Consumers see it, know it, trust it, and they know it’s good. On top of that, the product lasts a long time, it’s got a good shelf life, and chefs can use it for myriad different dishes that are ethnic in nature.”
For more on how you can leverage beans to connect with younger diners, visit bushbeansfoodservice.com.