Evolving a brand is expected by consumers who are evolving faster than most restaurant brands. When that happens consumers look, sample, try other brands. It’s when those new brands have more relevance for the consumer that the consumer migrates to them for good.
Is your brand a past memory in the minds-eye of more customers this year than last year? Why? How are you evolving with consumers? This week we are looking at plant-based foods and food that is deemed by consumers as ‘better-4-you’. Steven Johnson Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®, stated, “if you are not evolving with your consumers your brand is losing consumers faster than garnering new ones.”
How do you know if you are losing customers? The best way to judge is look at your year over year customer counts? Do you have more customer transaction this year vs last year?
Another company that is looking a customer ahead with relevance is Noodles & Company. They are continuing on a R&D journey to offer healthier pasta options with the recent launch of a consumer relevant ‘better-4-you’ pasta they call, LEANguini.
So, get this the new pasta product has 56% fewer net carbs, 30% fewer total carbs and 44% higher protein than traditional linguini noodles. LEANguini was developed over the course of nearly two years by the Noodles’ culinary team to offer guests a pasta that delivers the same flavor, texture and qualities as fresh wheat noodles but with fewer carbs and calories.
In response to consumer request and research insights, Noodles & Company has been actively exploring low-carb pasta alternatives, starting with the national rollout of zucchini noodles in 2018, followed by cauliflower noodles in 2019 and cauliflower gnocchi early in 2021.
In a Battle for Share of Stomach
the Halo of 'Better-4-You' Matters
Noodles & Company, executive chef and VP of culinary Nick Graff, stated, “Menu innovation is extremely important to Noodles & Company. When adding new better-for-you options to our menu, we use only the freshest ingredients to deliver food that is not only better for you but robust in flavor,” … “Our guests took so well to Zoodles and Cauliflower Noodles, creating a health-forward noodle that has the same taste and texture as a traditional noodle was the clear next challenge.”
Currently, Noodles is testing the new linguini in three dishes. LEANguini Parmesan combines the noodles with roasted zucchini, Roma tomatoes and spinach in a lemon parmesan sauce; LEANguini Fresca tosses them with balsamic vinaigrette, olive oil, roasted garlic, tomato and red onion; and LEANguini Shrimp Scampi features the pasta with shrimp in light scampi sauce, roasted zucchini and Roma tomatoes topped with parmesan, parsley and lemon.
This is important, consumers can also substitute the lower-carb noodles in any menu item. LEANguini is being tested in select restaurants in Colorado, Illinois and Ohio.
Once again there is more, to encourage trial, Noodles created the January Healthy Options Challenge for rewards members. Throughout the month, guests who opt for a noodles swap of LEANguini at the test locations (or choose Zoodles or Caulifloodles at any unit) will receive double points on their order.
Success does leave clues. One clue that time and time again continues to resurface is “the consumer is dynamic not static”. Regular readers of this blog know that is the common refrain of Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions®. Our Grocerant Guru® can help your company edify your brand with relevance. Call 253-759-7869 for more information.