value items

Are value items on the menu for 2023?

As many diners seem to be adjusting to rising prices, some restaurants are introducing value items to their menus to attract those consumers looking to eat for less. While some experts are looking at inflation as a catalyst for positive change, other sources are suggesting that lower pricing can help boost profitability.

From breakfast additions to family meals, some restaurants are working to capture that value-focused customer. Tim Hortons, recently introducing their new TimSelects breakfast menu in Canada, features a choice of two breakfast sandwiches and a freshly baked classic bagel, each for under $3. The menu serves as part of Tim Hortons’ “goal to serve guests great products at great everyday value, including delicious, craveable foods to fuel your mornings,” says Hope Bagozzi, chief marketing office at Tim Hortons.

Pizza chains like Domino’s and Pizza Hut are taking a different approach, targeting families and groups with their value-focused strategies. Domino’s mix-and-match offer allows customers to choose from a set menu for $7 (up one dollar from last year). Pizza Hut is targeting families with their Big Dinner Box, offering a combination of pizza with chicken wings, bread, or pasta for about $28.

Has inflation made fast food more desirable? Will these deals last as a viable way for restaurants to retain profits? Some experts say that focusing on value items is a trend that can’t last, and will be replaced with smaller portion sizes. Burger King chose to do this, reducing its traditional 10-piece chicken nugget meal to eight pieces.

As an alternate strategy, Taco Bell brought back a previous favourite item, the grilled cheese burrito, at a higher price, creating excitement over its return and boosting sales.

While restaurants face higher food and labour costs, they are still trying to attract and retain a loyal clientele. As some restaurants are raising prices to cover the costs, others are targeting value-focused customers with menu items that address a desire to continue to eat out amid inflation. And while some restaurants are using this time to re-evaluate their business models and tighten up operations, others are cutting portion sizes and adjusting their menus.

As restaurants experiment with various strategies for the best way to address inflation, restaurateurs need to think long-term to get ahead and keep customers happy.

Photo via Tim Hortons