NRA 2019 Recap: Plant-based meat grows in popularity

By Cassie Ebinger

The 2019 National Restaurant Association Show was once again filled with exciting up and coming trends. One of these trends appears to be growing at an alarming rate — Plant-based meats.

Pat Noone, EVP of Business Development at Technomic, shared during an NRA session that plant-based food items have grown 54% over the last five years on operator menus. This seems like just the beginning as big brands including Burger King, Carl’s Jr, White Castle, and now Little Caesars have adopted these offerings to their menus.

Burger King is already experiencing the positive impacts of adding this healthy burger substitute to it’s menu. According to a report from inMarket inSights, the locations Burger King has used to test their Impossible Whopper have outperformed the chain’s national foot traffic average by 18.5% in April.

“These next generation plant-based alternatives are in position to disrupt the meat category in a similar fashion that plant-based milks disrupted dairy and energy drinks disrupted caffeinated beverages,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Bryan Spillane said in a research note.

While adding this hot topic item to your menu may seem like a no brainer, there are many things to take into consideration before jumping on the bandwagon.

In fact, McDonald’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, has yet to make the jump because he is still evaluating the pros and cons of adding plant-based burgers to their locations.  

“The question is: Will the demand make absorbing it worth the complexity because it will drive the business? We had a similar discussion maybe four years ago about All-Day Breakfast,” Easterbrook said on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

Easterbrook has a good point. There is complexity behind rolling out new menu items, and even those in high demand will flop if not done properly.

Developing a thorough process for speedy roll-outs and early visibility into store compliance is essential to the success of any promotion or new offering, but process alone is not enough – Having the right technology in place to ensure “last mile execution” is the final key.

Ready to close the gaps in your promotional execution? Zenput’s operations execution platform makes it easy to roll out and enforce compliance with the processes that are critical to improving customer experiences and performance across your stores. Learn more about task management.

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