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Is There An Increase In Potato Consumption Due To The Stressful Economy?

Q:

Are you seeing fast food and casual dining guests order more potatoes because they are a comfort food, or a comforting food, against the stress of the economy?

A:

Excellent question, and the answer is… Yes.

McDonald’s decade long $1 value menu has French fries as one of the supporting pillars of the program due to how inexpensive they are for someone on a budget and are good for those wanting to spend discretionary income on something that is filling and hot. The value meal accounts for 10-13% of fast-foods total sales. Now, spokespeople say that the effort to grow the value meal in variety and in slightly higher prices is working, but slowly. The Dollar Menu + More is designed to appeal to that large group of “stressed” consumers. A stressed customer can be a panic customer, looking for the “what’s cheap portion of your menu.” So when choosing what to add to the menu potato dishes/sides should be highly considered. So, what should be available to the “stressed” that can also help discretionary income stretch, on menu items?

Here’s what comes to mind… roasted potatoes, hashes, mashed, fries, potato skins. A plain or butter added (but not loaded) baked potato. A little finer dining? Try menuing potato pancakes made from mashed potatoes or hash browns.