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4 tips for a fruitful smoothie bar menu

Vitamix smoothie
Photograph courtesy of Vitamix

Made-to-order smoothies are multi-generational favorites that continue to post record sales growth and have a strong outlook. For dining programs of all kinds, made-to-order smoothies are hard to beat. They are a grab-and-go convenience that tastes great.

However, it pays to think deliberately about the made-to-order smoothie menu. It’s the first place customers look, and the ideal reaction should be, “Ah yes, I see something I like.”

The smoothie menu is a connection point—and the connection needs to happen quickly and easily. Here are some tips that will help with this challenge and others:

1. Pick the right number. The exact number of smoothies on the menu may seem like a minor detail, but it’s not. There should be enough options to meet the different tastes of the diners but not so many that the dining services staff is overly challenged. The inventory of ingredients should not be too complex. It's a balance between what the customer needs and what the staff can reasonably manage.

2. Be organized, not arbitrary. Items on the made-to-order smoothie menu should be deliberate and organized into groups, if the menu is a long one. Most smoothie menus today employ one of two organizational approaches:

  • By ingredient. Smoothies are grouped by their main ingredients: tropical fruit, vegetables and greens, super foods, berries, proteins, etc. Usually, a clever set of names stand in for these categories.
     
  • By purpose. While no smoothie is capable of bringing about a health benefit with one sip, customers are interested in smoothies that aim at a certain health-related purpose, like boosting energy, recovering from a workout, building immune health, staying slim or hydrating in hot weather.

Check out the online menus of major smoothie chains. There’s a lot to learn from these menus. Even if the dining program has only a few smoothies on the menu, they should represent some of the popular areas of consumer interest.

3.  Something for everybody. Be aware of a persistent dichotomy in the smoothie market: There are always going to be those who want smoothies that represent the latest health trends, as well as those who are craving a treat. However the menu is organized, it makes sense to consider these two ends of the spectrum.

4. Sell the seasons. Everyone knows the seasons influence the palate. They also affect how people think about their health: cold and flu in the winter, getting in shape in the spring, hydration in the summer, etc. Therefore, it could be worth experimenting with some seasonal items on the menu. When patrons see something new, they want to try it. Rotating items on and off your menu is also a great way to learn about their preferences and what sells.

The Vitamix Culinary Team consults with food service professionals, not only on blending, but also on kitchen efficiency and recipe and menu development. Contact Steve Hosey at SHosey@Vitamix.com.

This post is sponsored by Vitamix

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