How to Capitalize on Office Meals, Late-Night Eats and Other Dining Trends

Today’s diners – particularly millennials – are ordering more than simply breakfast, lunch and dinner from their favorite restaurants. They’re eating what they want, when it’s convenient.

With little regard for traditional meal times, menus and locations, diners are inventing new meals at the intersection of ease, convenience and deliciousness.

Here are just four of these new meals, and how your restaurant can capitalize on them.

Breakfast anytime
While breakfast is often touted as the most important meal of the day, many people are just too busy to enjoy it in the morning – let alone eat it. Perhaps this has something to do with why seven out of ten adults want restaurants to serve breakfast all day, according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association.

If you think you have to run a greasy spoon diner to offer all-day breakfast, think again. No matter your theme or culinary focus, you can make enticing breakfast options that can be devoured any time of day.

This doesn’t have to be an extensive menu addition. Make it easy on your kitchen by offering a limited amount of breakfast favorites like breakfast sandwiches, burritos or bowls. Healthy juices and smoothies are no longer confined to the morning hours, either – they can attract your busy, health-conscious diners to quickly drop in and grab an energizing treat.

The lunch meeting leftovers

In the mid-afternoon, eyelids get heavy as blood sugar levels plummet. It’s the time of day when half-awake office workers stagger to the kitchen in search of anything that can rejuvenate them. And with any luck, they’ll find leftover food that was delivered for a lunch meeting.

If your restaurant was the caterer, this situation presents an excellent chance to make a good impression on more employees in the office. With limited options, they are more likely to try something they wouldn’t otherwise order on your menu. If they find the lunch meeting leftovers to be satisfying, there’s a higher likelihood that they will think of your restaurant the next time they have to order a catered lunch to the office. To improve your odds, be sure you know the best practices for mastering corporate delivery.

Desk meals
People are working harder than ever these days to put food on the table. Ironically, that often means they end up eating at their desks. Many companies will pay for meals delivered to the office if employees are hard at work, crunched for time and in need of sustenance. This is an opportunity for your restaurant, especially if it’s within delivery distance to business districts.

So whether they work through lunch or the daily grind turns into the nighttime grind, hungry diners are going to count on your restaurant to offer simple online ordering, quick delivery and a delicious meal. Be sure that you know how to reduce food delivery time, as well as the secrets of properly packed food to make the most of this market.

Late-night munchies
Fast-food joints have long been indulging their customers’ midnight cravings for a “fourth meal,” but you don’t need to be a chain to get in on the game. More than half of diners under 35 make late-night trips to restaurants several times a month. What will make them choose your restaurant?

Late-night eats are usually thought to be more snackable and shareable (think nachos and pretzel bites). However, while several diners continue to be healthy throughout the night, some tend to become less health-conscious as the night wears on (again, think nachos and pretzel bites). Come up with an easy-to-prepare menu for the night owls, and you could quickly earn a reputation as a go-to spot when most kitchens are closed.

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