Is Lent a big event for operators?

February 14, 2013

Many Americans are beginning the 40-day period leading up to the Easter celebration. The rules for fasting can vary dramatically by which days and what types of food can be consumed. Some religious patrons abstain from all forms of meat and animal products while others make exceptions for food like fish, indicating that Lenten rules are evolving.

Although only part of our overall population observes Lent—about one-third of American adults, according to a 2009 study by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion—it is nonetheless significant to business. Operators should have a strategy in place to appeal to their customers and attract new customers or run the risk of losing visits to the competition.

Lessons can be learned from observing some major fast-food burger chains and their recent promotions.

fish1_500In addition to their signature Filet-O-Fish sandwich, originally developed for Lent, McDonald’s created new Fish McBites, leveraging smaller, shareable portions.

 

 

fish2_500Wendy’s went the “premium” route and promoted their Premium North Pacific Cod Fillet Sandwich, playing on a better-for-you approach.

 

 

fish3_500Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s went the route of “innovation” by creating a new Charbroiled Atlantic Cod Fish Sandwich focusing on a healthier preparation approach.

 

 

Although it’s hard to say which menu item will have the greatest success, it’s clear that each of these strategies will provide customers with appealing alternatives and options that fit their needs during Lent.

For operators who don’t have the resources to create new products, calling attention to existing vegetarian and seafood products during Lent can show customers the importance operators place on their patrons’ beliefs. As more consumers seek healthful options, incorporating more seafood and vegetarian options will benefit all consumers in general and help to improve the overall perceptions of restaurant healthfulness.


February 14, 2013

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Foodservice Interchange 2013

March 4, 2013
Allstream Centre, Toronto

Meet One of Our Speakers

Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President, Technomic, Inc. will share key insights into the evolution of foodservice trends. Learn about trends migrating from the US and Internationally into Canada as well as some home grown Canadian influences making an impact elsewhere.  You won’t want to miss learning about the newest trends for 2013 and what these could mean for your business:

  1. Snacking, small plates and sharing blur traditional dayparts. Changing dining habits are impacting all dayparts. Consumers want their meals and snacks when and where it’s convenient. Expect chefs to get more creative by paring down traditional entrées into creative small plates, looking to street trucks for snacking inspiration, and incorporating more ethnic flavours and ingredients into sharing dishes.
  2. Taking chicken to new heights. The better-burger trend has spread like wildfire across Canada. Building off the burger trend, chefs will turn to the humble chicken as the next workaday food primed for a gourmet update. Look for increasing use of high-quality birds raised locally, naturally and humanely.
  3. Veggies find more prominence on the plate. Expect to see not just more locally sourced, in-season fresh veggies siding up to proteins, but more vegetarian entrées as well.
  4. Asian breaks out. From the burgeoning ramen scene in Toronto to Japanese tapas restaurants in Vancouver, expect to see interest in the multitude of food cultures that Asia has to offer. This includes not just up-and-coming Southeast Asian dishes from Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia, but regional Chinese and Japanese fusion as well.
  5. Specialty approach to beverages. Artisan preparation and ethnic flavours are not just hot food trends—chefs are exercising their creativity beyond the plate with beverage innovation too. Restaurants are now crafting everything from craveable small-batch sodas to exotic refreshers like South American aguas frescas. Consumers are also seeking more authenticity at restaurants, particularly when it comes to ethnic dining. We’ll see more and more food-and-beverage pairings that complete an ethnic dining experience.

Date: March 4, 2013
Registration and Networking Breakfast: 7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Conference: 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
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For complete details: contact FCPC – Heather Spencer, heathers@fcpc.ca or 416-510-9050