Since the majority of young Millennials consider themselves “adventurous eaters” (62% compared to 56% of US adults) they are certainly looking for new flavors when dining out, but they typically don’t have the means to break the bank on swanky, upscale restaurants. In response, restaurants like Wendy’s are creating programs that allow their customers to try new flavor combinations, while staying within a modest price point. Wendy’s move to begin testing a build-your-own burger can help shift them into the fast casual space, while re-engaging their core consumer with new options in an ‘adventurous’ setting.”

According to new research from Mintel, nearly 3 out of every 4 Young Millennials would like to experience more new flavors when dining at restaurants and about a quarter (26%) of Young Millennials are visiting QSRs more often, while nearly 1 in 5 (18%) are increasing their visits to fast casual establishments.

The build-your-own program allows customers to select up to three burger patties or grilled, home-style, or spicy chicken. Bun options include their regular bun, pretzel bun, or no bun at all. Finally, customers can choose between five different cheeses (including cheddar cheese sauce), seven sauces, and seven toppings (which include bacon and jalapenos). While the platform may be new for the chain, Wendy’s did not need to invest in additional ingredients for the test, since they all make an appearance on the existing menu.

Build-your-own menus are synonymous with customization, which is a dining attribute that Young Millennials (and other generations) seek when eating at restaurants. This program also allows customers to create healthier burgers (eg, no bun, more vegetables, hold the mayo), which is an important aspect of dining for younger consumers.

While the ingredients that are offered on Wendy’s new build-your-own program may not scream out “adventurous,” the ability to create a burger from “scratch” just the way you want it is adventurous for the QSR segment and it starts at a mere $4.

Katrina Fajardo joined Mintel’s Foodservice reports team with a background that includes data analysis, presentations to restaurant operators and food manufacturers, and consumer behavior tracking. She is now involved in researching and writing reports that cover the broad, evolving world of Foodservice, including commercial, non-commercial, and menu exploration. Her focus is to create insightful and actionable reports that deliver valuable takeaways for clients.

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