Adding More Value to the Menu

March 2018

As the restaurant industry faces competition from movie theaters, grocery stores and other food-away-from-home sources, operators are testing out different strategies for driving traffic and stealing share from their competitors. Many are focusing on affordability—The NPD Group found that 25% of restaurant visits in 2017 were related to deals, and that percentage has increased for three years in a row.

Value menus are resurging at quick-service chains to distance price points from those in the fast-casual and fast-fine segments. McDonald’s introduced a new version of its Dollar Menu with $1, $2 and $3 tiers; Taco Bell announced plans to put 20 more offerings on its Dollar All Day menu in 2018; and Jack in the Box created a menu category called Value Jack’s Way, with selections ranging from $1 to $5.

The aim with these offers is to attract enough customers to increase traffic and create upsell opportunities. Because many of the low-priced items are sold à la carte, diners may buy a few and increase the overall check average.

For operations with more expensive fare, there are still ways to appeal to deal-hungry consumers and encourage them to add on to their meals. Some form different combinations of drinks, entrées and sides, with a price break for bundles of two or three. Others use limited-time coupons to create a sense of urgency or design loyalty programs to reward repeat guests.

When developing these ideas, it’s important to keep in mind that value goes beyond cost. Serving high-quality food from trusted companies and mentioning brand names in dish descriptions can increase the perceived value and make patrons feel that they’re getting more bang for their buck.

Research shows that 61% of turkey consumers would be more likely to buy Butterball-branded turkey dishes. The Butterball turkey portfolio contains breasts and roasts, breakfast meats, deli meats and more—including no-antibiotics-ever options—with countless culinary applications. Feature them on the menu to provide greater value for your patrons.

Have you tried these kinds of promotions? Tell us about your experiences on Facebook and LinkedIn, and read up on other trending topics in our Resource Center.


U.S. Restaurant Chains Look to Value Meals and New Menu Items to Drive Customer Traffic in 2018, The NPD Group, January 2018.

Meyer, Zlati. McDonald’s, Taco Bell others pile on the just-a-buck deals, USA TODAY, December 2017.

Smith, Aaron. A dollar menu war is coming to fast food, CNN, December 2017.

Proprietary Consumer Research, Butterball, 2017.

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