Satisfying in so many ways, smoothies offer good-for-your-customers and good-for-your-business benefits. As today’s consumers seek out healthier menu options and food that can be enjoyed on-the-go, smoothies fit the bill perfectly. Plus, smoothies provide an opportunity to capture incremental revenue—making them a must-have staple on any foodservice menu.
From retail areas to dining menus, following are the top four reasons to showcase smoothies throughout the day:
1. Smoothies are a “sure thing” on foodservice menus.
Well-liked by all ages and at all times of day, smoothies can be paired with fruit for breakfast, as a stand-alone snack, or served with a salad or sandwich for lunch. Smoothies have become an everyday choice for many consumers as demonstrated by their explosive growth in recent years, including within foodservice where smoothies have grown 16 percent in the past five years. 1
Smoothies offer a simple and cost-efficient way to help increase foodservice sales and profits. For instance, having smoothies available in a grab-and-go cooler can help foodservice operations capture incremental sales for customers seeking a delicious ready-to-drink option. Smoothies are also great for bundling with other nutritious items for additional sales opportunities.
3. Smoothies are simple to make.
Often using yogurt as a base and adding fresh or frozen fruit, smoothies are easy to assemble. Even when larger foodservice quantities are required, there are a myriad of ways to make the most of labor and equipment to turn out smoothies in fast fashion. For instance, pre-blended smoothies offer a low-prep, efficient solution so no blender is necessary – just open, squeeze and serve.
4. Smoothies give your patrons a gluten-free, nutritious menu option.
Smoothies appeal to the growing number of consumers looking for a great-tasting, wholesome snack in a convenient format they can eat on-the-go. Offering protein, calcium, fruit, vitamins A and D as well as providing a low-fat and gluten-free option for health-conscious consumers, smoothies pack great nutrition into a delicious drink.
Ideas for Smoothie Success
Some foodservice operators may feel adding smoothies to their menu is challenging based on staffing or lack of equipment. However, serving refreshing smoothies is now easier than ever with several opportunities for creativity and increased sales.
“Thankfully, there are a variety of options to serve smoothies that make the most of the resources and ingredients available in any foodservice environment,” says Gilles Stassart, a corporate chef for General Mills Foodservice who provides culinary training to non-commercial foodservice professionals. He shares the following ideas:
- For operations with a yogurt parfait station, consider using the same space and many of the same ingredients such as yogurt and fruit to offer smoothies as an added menu option. Patrons simply walk up, choose the ingredients they want to add to a cup and bring the cup to staff to blend
- A salad bar area can be designated as a “smoothie bar” on occasion.
- Utilize excess ingredients you have on hand to offer a “smoothie of the day.”
As for the latest flavor combinations, Stassart says he is seeing more “green” smoothies that incorporate kale or spinach as well as more efforts to promote specific nutrients (e.g. antioxidants) or health benefits (e.g. protein) in smoothies. Plus, smoothies are typically gluten-free!
While adding smoothies to the menu can be as simple as combining two or three favorite ingredients, there are other cost-efficient options that don’t even require a blender. New Yoplait® SmoothiePro™, available in Mixed Berry and Tropical flavors, is a pre-blended yogurt smoothie in a 60-ounce bag that operators simply open and squeeze to portion. Likewise, Yoplait® ParfaitPro® bulk yogurt, available in Vanilla, Strawberry and Greek Honey Vanilla, provides a perfect base that can be combined with pureed fruit in a pitcher for a blender-less smoothie.
To meet customer needs, foodservice providers can menu smoothies in c-stores, retail, coffee kiosks and patient menus, among others, cashing in on incremental sales with minimal back-of-house effort. Smoothies are ideally merchandised next to fresh fruit or other fresh items to highlight their refreshing appeal.
“Refreshing, sweet and satisfying, smoothies are a great enhancement to any foodservice operation interested in boosting business while appealing to consumer interests,” says Stassart.