Just when you thought breakfast, lunch and dinner were the only dining opportunities for foodservice, a fourth daypart has begun to emerge: snack time. Snacking is very common—80% of consumers snack no less than once a day, and 57% say they graze twice or more every day. Foodservice is more frequently attracting guests who want to grab something light, and happy hours menus serve as the perfect occasion.
With 75% of consumers munching in the afternoon and 42% in the evening, restaurants face changing appetite needs. Happy hour items and bar snacks appeal to social butterflies who want to grab a bite with coworkers while saving room for dinner. The sports bar chain Yard House has a menu with a snack section that features dishes like street tacos and deviled eggs and bacon. With selections such as Turkey Chorizo Street Tacos and Turkey Taco Tostones, diners can enjoy mini meals while unwinding with friends.
Because food is an increasingly important social experience, options that guests can share are more and more popular. To take advantage of this trend, Houlihan’s renamed their appetizer section “Social Snacks,” while Buffalo Wild Wings labeled theirs “Sharables.” Consider serving these Banh Mi Turkey Wraps or Turkey and Swiss Sliders for meals that are easy to split between friends.
Adding snacks to the happy hour menu can also inspire creativity. It’s a chance for chefs to get playful with bold tastes, as with this Loaded Turkey Nachos with Tajin Crema. Smaller plates are great ways for guests to sample adventurous flavors without committing to a full portion, and trying new foods together is a fun experience for diners. Offering scaled-down sizes of pre-existing items is also an easy way to create a separate happy hour menu.
Turkey is a light, versatile protein that can meet hankerings outside of the usual dayparts. Neither socializing nor snacking show signs of slowing down as millennials and Gen Zers are choosing snacks over meals more frequently. With a few additions to the happy hour menu, restaurants can satisfy all appetites and perhaps become regular after-work spots that inspire new memories.
For more meal inspiration across all dayparts, visit the Culinary Center.
Content courtesy of Butterball Foodservice
Cobe, Patricia. As Snacking Rises, Here’s How to Lure Snackers’ Attention Through the Menu, Restaurant Business, April 2018.
Snacking Is Here to Stay, Technomic, 2018.
Romeo, Peter. Snacking Is Here to Stay, Restaurant Business, December 2018.