With the influences of the documentary “Food, Inc.” and public health advocates like Dr. Oz, Americans are swapping overly processed foods for foods with “clean labels” in grocery stores. Restaurant operators are also adjusting their communications to better align with this shift in consumers.
To convey “made-just-for-you,” restaurants are “adjusting their preparation techniques to demonstrate a slow, methodical process, which expands the fresh idea to include handmade and individually crafted comfort food,” as reported by Mintel.
Tex-Mex chain Taco Cabana discovered such success with their Brisket Taco that the popular LTO became a permanent fixture on the menu. The company hit on the slow, methodical process describing it as “seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic before smoking for several hours with hickory wood flavors and then crisped on a flat grill before being served.”
One word restaurants are attaching to their product names is the term “artisan”; however, it doesn’t seem to be resonating with consumers as much as you might think. Interestingly, Mintel asked respondents to rate their interest in a list of descriptions/preparations. “Artisan” drew in the least interest with only 28% of respondents finding it appealing while “fresh” garnered the most interest (among 89%), followed by “made from scratch.”
Consumers are too savvy for brands to be anything but authentic. When half of the menus in the repertoire of dining establishments include some version of artisan (consider Domino’s line of Artisan pizzas, Wendy’s Artisan Egg Sandwich, and Burger King’s BK Chef’s Choice burger on a new artisanal-style bun), consumers can quickly see the term as overplayed.
That doesn’t mean that restaurants should all shift their product names to “fresh” and “made from scratch” instead. The key is a combination of an appealing name and a demonstrably appetizing preparation process.