This Customer Data Could Change Your Menu, and Grow Your Bottom Line

Restaurant Business Online recently teamed up with Technomic to feature a huge consumer fact check. The full surveys are available at, but gave us a taste, and it could just change what’s on your menu…

Did you know?

Just over half of consumers (53%) believe a savory and spicy flavor combination is very appealing, making it the top ranked flavor combination. We can’t help but feel that we contributed to this high percentage–the other week we tweeted out benefits of eating spicy food, so obviously the Internet heard what we had to say… More importantly, this is a wake-up call to restaurants to highlight salty-hot dishes on their menus. Or, if they don’t have salty-hot dishes, to create some! 

Consumers would prefer honey (45%) over regular, white sugar (36%) as a sweetener in their desserts. This surprised us. Sure people are looking into new ways to be healthier, and white sugar is getting a bad rap lately, but do people really want honey in everything? We’ll see how long this lasts, but for now: Want more mileage from your desserts? Leave out the sugar, and let them know that honey’s the sweet stuff.

Two in five (42%) customers find dessert flights very appealing. More variety for dessert? Count us in. (Actually, we assumed this number would be higher.) Chefs could base their flights around a theme or a specific dessert. For example, the Orange Squirrel has a dirt flight, which incorporates a variety of crumbled cookies with layers of pudding. Makes everyone feel like they’re getting more, including your bookkeeper.

Two in five consumers (40%) strongly agree that they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers new and/or unique flavors. Did you know there’s such a thing as honey jalapeño pickle ice cream? Don’t laugh. That’s the kind of thing that makes a consumer say, “Huh?” And that curious consumer could be your next paying customer…


67% of consumers would order a brownie as a dessert, making it the top ranked dessert. We’re not trying to say that brownies aren’t delicious–because they are–but… come on people, aren’t we all a little more interesting than this? Don’t you know there’s honey jalepeño pickle ice cream out there in this great big world? Ah well, restaurants can get creative on their menus to bring customers in the door, but once they sit down, they may as well give them what they really want. Bring on the brownies.

On average, consumers eat pizza 3.4 times per month. There must be an error in this because 3.4 times a week seems a little low to us. You’re telling us that people eat pizza less than once a week? Or maybe people eat pizza one night and have leftovers throughout the week? Did this survey take college students into consideration?


Today’s consumers are 11% more likely to order an appetizer at Happy Hour than they were two years ago. This we can believe. We rarely make a happy hour these days, but if we do, we’ve probably been swamped since breakfast and are ready for some FOOD. The usual light apps don’t generally help our situation, so we’d be very excited to see some chefs and bartenders collaborate on drink and food menus that compliment each other to satisfy our hungry thirst.

 Bonus fact-People are more productive in blue rooms. Have you seen