Serving small portion sizes is the new trend in the hospitality industry. The volatile nature of the hospitality industry has led to the introduction of new innovative concepts and trends. Visiting a restaurant now is more of an experience than just an alternative to cooking food at home. What was once a luxury found only in Michelin star restaurants is now becoming a must-have option in most restaurants. Small-plate menus were listed as the fourth biggest restaurant concept in 2018 by The National Restaurant Association What’s Hot 2018 Culinary Forecast. There is an increasing awareness amongst the consumers, especially Generation Z about health and fitness. Consumers are making better choices regarding what they eat, how much they eat and how it is made.
Despite the growing trend, many restaurants are still sceptical to go with the idea of serving small portion sizes due to concerns about the decrease in profits. Now before you totally give up the idea here are some benefits for everyone dubious about serving small portion sizes.
Serving small portions will allow you to control your food-cost efficiently. Chefs can better manage and control the portion eliminating the risk of over portioning which usually happens while serving larger plates. Moreover, it will also reduce the amount of food waste in your restaurant leading to higher profits and optimum utilisation of your resources.
Psychologically, customers feel more comfortable ordering four plates costing $10 each instead of a $40 plate.
Small plate menu removes the pain of paying on part of customers even though they might end up spending more.
Serving small portions will give your chefs an opportunity to experiment with new ingredients. Remember it’s about quality over quantity. Offering small portions will help you create more dishes using fewer ingredients. You can also charge your customers with a premium if you are using high quality, exotic ingredients to create your small plate menu. In most cases, the customers won’t hesitate to pay if the food tastes better than its price.
Reducing Food Waste:
Bigger the plate, the higher the amount of food waste. Previously, as a customer, I did find value in ordering a large meal for just a few dollars more. But in most cases, I ended up throwing some of it in the garbage. Even though restaurants can always provide customers with the option of take-away, smaller portion sizes will considerably reduce the amount of food waste generated in your restaurant. Sustainability is the way forward. Millennials and Generation Z are appreciating and rewarding those organisations which are taking a positive step towards it.
Gaining New Customers:
Serving small size portions enables you to attract customers who are looking to eat healthy food without breaking the bank. Offering both small and large size portions will allow you to target a larger audience leading to higher profits. A diversified menu will focus your food budget on new ingredients than just a selected few.
Knowing the benefits of serving a small portion size in your restaurant what’s in it for your customers?
Customers tend to order a few appetizers followed my main course and dessert knowing it would keep them full. Small portions give your customers an opportunity to try new dishes rather than sticking to just one dish. Customers enjoy a dining experience filled with different flavours and textures. Ashok Bajaj, Owner/President of Knightsbridge Restaurant Group, observed,
Conversations can be more engaging in a small-plate restaurant because guests can discuss and share dishes rather than just eating in silence.
As a customer, I am always hesitant to try a new dish due to one simple reason: What if the dish doesn’t taste as good and I end up paying for nothing? Smaller portions eliminate the risk of trying new dishes on the customers due to the low price of the dishes. Also, the pain of paying is comparatively lower as customers won’t be highly disappointed if the dish doesn’t taste good.
Educating customers on the health benefits of opting for smaller portions will enhance your brand equity and encourage your customers to try new dishes. You can do it by including it in your menu or by just writing it on a blackboard inside your restaurant with all the ‘Today’s Special’. Furthermore, including things like the number of calories and providing nutritional information about the dishes can help you target those highly health-conscious consumers. Eating large portions can lead to indigestion and discomfort and in some cases also lead to sugar imbalance in the body. Eating smaller portions also helps with weight loss, especially in countries with higher obesity rates like the USA (36.20%).
So are you ready to serve a small portion size in your restaurant and be the game-changer? It’s a small world after all!