How to Emphasize the Health Benefits of Mediterranean Food
When you start with great flavor, the next steps are to educate your team and set a consistent marketing message.
Mediterranean food has so many health benefits it’s hard to know where to begin as it incorporates all the basics of healthy eating. It’s heart healthy meaning its low in sodium and saturated fat, high in healthy fats and fiber, loaded with antioxidants, and downright delicious.
With healthcare taking center stage in the media, healthy Mediterranean menu items have become an easy sell, but the number one selling point is always going to be taste. Your job as a restaurant owner or manager is not as much to sell health benefits as to inform the customer. You have a number of informational vehicles at your disposal, and as with any advertising or branding effort, consistency is key. Your message should be the same across all communications: advertising, print, online, and in-house.
In-house Branding Ideas for Mediterranean Food
The first branding decision you’ll face is how to present new menu items. Depending on your restaurant concept and customer demographic, introducing items as Mediterranean foods might be met with less enthusiasm than “heart-healthy” or “low calorie” dining options.
On the menu
Nutrition information has become common on menus from fast food to upscale dining. If including nutrition information for your best selling nachos seems counter-productive, consider marking healthy items with unobtrusive symbols, or adding a healthy choice menu section or insert.
Sell the taste first. Some restaurants focus solely on the benefits and leave out taste enticements. The best menu descriptions ignite passion and create craving. We all know we should eat low-cal, high fiber, low saturated fat foods, but mentally, that picture isn't as pleasing to the eye. Health benefits are secondary selling points to all but the most health-conscious people.
Educate Your Staff
Educating the customer is often a matter of educating the staff. Make sure every member of your staff knows how to present menu items and answer questions about freshness and quality, the mediterranean diet, and talking points about nutrition and health benefits.
Mediterranean Print and Advertising Options
Introducing a new menu concept to an established brand can be tricky. Your advertising has to be consistent, build your brand and your strengths, and also introduce something new. The answer may be a simple tagline about eating lighter or healthier, or it could center an entire campaign on new menu selections.
Applebee’s 2012 commercial campaign did just that; aimed its entire advertising efforts at introducing a new food-focused brand to revitalize falling sales. They tied it into their iconic hometown image with a new slogan, "See You Tomorrow." Note that the new menu items are not exactly Mediterranean fare, but they incorporate the spirit of the concept nevertheless.
Social Media Benefits for Restaurants
Few businesses can benefit more from social media than restaurants. It’s a natural fit, since people love to obsess over food. Studies show that tweets, posts and shares containing photos do best on all social media channels, and what’s more popular than mouth-watering food? Nothing.
Taking to social media to reinforce your brand and spread your message is a smart move. You can engage your customers directly, find out what they are saying about your food, the service, and the restaurant itself, and respond to complaints before they supercede your carefully built reputation. You can also educate - use your social media soapbox to chat about healthy eating, new concepts, and yummy food.
Keep in mind that good social media is a two-way street. Businesses that tweet out advertising and do not respond to their audience face resentment. It’s just as important to listen and respond.