Trends & Insights

Keep my tab open (for the food)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Bar fare extends beyond nuts and popcorn

… Not that nuts and popcorn aren’t delicious (or aren’t bar staples; they’re not going anywhere), but consumers increasingly are looking for food with a bit more sustenance at their favorite watering holes. In fact, 80 percent of consumers agree with the statement, “It is important to me that bars I visit offer food” (Technomic).

Nightclub & Bar nods to recent consumer trends – smaller portions, better ingredients and the ability to eat what they want, when they want it (outside of traditional dayparts) – as to why bar operators are upping their grub game.

Smaller portions
The layout of a bar makes it easy to share food, especially appetizers and small plates. Such smaller portions are exactly what consumers crave so they can “taste test” different menu items (including food they may not have otherwise tried) without breaking the bank.

Better ingredients
Consumers want to know the origins of their food, and they mandate social responsibility from operators and from each stop along their supply chains.

But, the better in better ingredients also extends to taste preferences. Bar operators have found success in featuring both regional and ethnic fare. Further, if located inside of a restaurant, the bar may be the perfect place to sample its menu items.

Blending dayparts
Consumers aren’t sticking to traditional mealtimes; when they’re hungry, they eat. And, snacking’s rising popularity speaks to this expansion/blending of dayparts.

In fact, more and more consumers define snacks based on when they’re eaten (i.e. outside of traditional mealtimes) moreso than what the food item is. This gives bar operators flexibility in developing menu items that can always meet the needs of their hungry customers. The bar, many times, is the perfect place to grab a casual bite at any time (day or night).

Indeed, bars aren’t just for drinks anymore. Bar operators can take comfort in knowing that offering a trend-forward food menu is a revenue source. Their customers, meanwhile, can take comfort in knowing that they’ll never get “cut off” from eating too much.



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