While New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier and lose weight are age-old, increasingly more people are taking a month off drinking as part of their New Year’s health-drive. While this is fantastic in tackling epidemic issues such as obesity and alcoholism, it does raise issues for restaurateurs.
With more and more people looking to be healthier and cut-back the result, all too often, is a reduction in restaurant bookings. Most restaurants now accept this as par for the course. But what if instead of dreading the January slump we leant into it and used it to entice new customers to dine out?
The following are five ways for restaurants to capitalise on the health and wellbeing focus post-Christmas and create more health-conscious menus.
- Embrace Fresh Veg
With more Brits starting to reduce the amount of meat in their diet the most obvious way for restaurants to appeal to healthier customers is to include more plant-based meals on their menu.
For businesses looking to use more fresh produce, it’s essential to get the right storage solutions. Refrigerated topping units are an important addition all businesses looking to store more fresh food. Topping units can be used as a short-term storage solution for pre-prepared foods such as vegetables and fruits. But as well as preserving the ingredients they’re also easily accessible and keep them organised—ideal when making salads where a large variety of fresh ingredients are needed.
Two of the healthiest vegetables to turn to are spinach and garlic. Spinach contains a lot of antioxidants, which reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Whereas studies have shown that garlic can help to regulate blood sugar levels and promote heart health.
- Replace Red Meats with Fish
In general, red meats tend to have more saturated fats than fish. Saturated fats can contribute to increased cholesterol and lead to heart disease. In contrast, fish has a lower caloric count than red meats, less saturated fats and is high in omega-3.
However, it is difficult to store fresh fish. The airflow in traditional fan-assisted refrigerators can tend to dry out seafood. Therefore, it’s important to invest in a refrigerated fish keeper, which is designed to maintain optimum storage temperatures for delicate fish—between -2°C and 2°C. They’re also treated to protect against the ammonia that is naturally secreted by stored fish.
It’s essential to store fish correctly to prevent bacteria from spreading and to avoid food poisoning.
- Keep No-Alcohol Beer on Tap
Studies have shown that the consumption of non-alcoholic beer has become more common in the UK and that more people are now teetotal. In 2018 Alcohol Research UK estimates that around 4.5 million people participated in Dry January.
Gradually the market is rising to meet the ever-increasing number of Brits who are drinking less or not at all. Through the introduction of new product launches, such as Heineken 0.0, the no-alcohol market grew 20.5% to £34.7 million in 2017.
However, for the most part, no-alcohol beers are only available by the bottle meaning for some people it can be too expensive to encourage multiple purchases. Therefore, there’s an opportunity for health-conscious businesses to get ahead of the curve and introduce draught non-alcoholic beers, to keep costs down and encourage customers to keep coming back.
- Include Calorie Counts on the Menu
In a recent poll, it was revealed that most UK diners now want to see the calorie counts of restaurant meals on the menu. The Department of Health also wants to make it a legal requirement for all restaurants in the UK to do so.
But to introduce calorie counts ahead of potential regulations, and meet consumer desires, will show health-conscious customers how transparent your restaurant is and will help them stick to their New Year’s resolutions—and will also help to persuade them to keep choosing your business over the competition.
- Go Organic
Going organic means avoiding food that uses man-made fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators or food that is genetically modified. Trends show that organic foods are growing in popularity and are now much more mainstream.
Most adults will now choose organic foods over all else. But for restaurant owners, what’s most important is that when an organic consumer converts they don’t go back to buying conventional foods. Therefore, through going organic you know you’ll be tapping into a ready-made consumer base, while at the same time not putting off any existing customers.