These days, consumers lacking concern for their health are few and far between. Many count calories, adhere to diets and hold gym memberships – and those who don’t are paying more attention to what they put in their mouths. In fact, according to Google Trends, the popularity of vegan and gluten-free diets has risen significantly over the last decade. Experts have speculated that this is due to recent food scandals and celebrity adoption, among other factors.
And they aren’t just cooking health meals at home – they’re seeking them in their favorite restaurants, too. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 70 percent of consumers say they are attempting to eat healthier at restaurants and 75 percent say healthy menu options have become more important when selecting a restaurant.
Not to mention, the stretch between the holidays and summer time is arguably a consumer’s most health conscious time of year, as they are concerned with trimming down to their “beach bodies.”
Here’s how to take advantage of the rise in health-conscious consumers using your restaurant POS software:
1. Offer nutrition information
As per the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, restaurants with 20 or more locations must make nutrient information – such as total calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, sugars, fiber and total protein – available upon request. To comply with the law and protect your customers, make sure this information is readily available your employees. Not to mention, seeing these numbers will most likely inspire customers to choose healthier options.
2. Extend your menu offerings
Your POS software can be customized to include new menu items that are low calorie, low carb, vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free, giving your restaurant a competitive edge over others that do not. It will be an exciting change for your health-conscious customers, but it could be a confusing one for your employees. POS software that allows customizable menu screens can clear clutter and cut out confusion.
When making changes, it is important to provide the proper training and take the necessary steps to make sure that speed and accuracy are not compromised. A more organized menu screen allows your employees to familiarize themselves with new menu items and access them quickly and easily. If needed, your touch screen interface can even be programmed to include a separate menu screen for these healthy options.
3. Utilize mobile technology
You should be proud of your health-conscious menu – so show it off! Your restaurant POS software can be integrated with mobile POS or online ordering to increase awareness of your new menu items. With mobile POS, your employees will be able to have all of the nutrition information – calories, ingredients, allergens, etc. – they need at their fingertips even if they are away from the stationary POS terminal. The more knowledgeable they are, the easier it will be for them to make upselling and cross-selling recommendations.
And with mobile ordering, customers can view your nutrition information on a web browser or mobile application while placing their order. That way, your restaurant can provide a quick and easy nutritious meal via take-out, rather than being reserved for a special outing or “cheat day.”
4. Spread the word and measure success
In addition to advertisements and digital signage, you can kick off your new health campaign by sending out an email letting your loyal customers know about your new options. Because they are your most loyal customers, they should be the first to know. Your restaurant POS software can provide customer data about those who have signed up for your loyalty program. Once they have received the email, they can forward it to their health-conscious friends or pass the information along by word of mouth.
Your POS software will also allow you to measure the success of your new healthy menu. Its reporting feature can provide information about sales increases – overall or for individual items.
If your restaurant plans on buying into the health craze, restaurant POS software is a necessary tool to transforming both your wallet and your customers’ waist lines.