Winter Springs, Fla. – Watermelon continues to find its place on menus throughout the country despite the rapidly changing foodservice landscape. Partnering with both quick service and full service national chains in the spring and summer months, the National Watermelon Promotion Board (Board) focused on takeaway-and delivery-friendly options to not only include watermelon on the menu, but keep it top of mind with their customers.
Juice and smoothies played a prominent role in all of these promotions, allowing operators to experiment with watermelon’s flavor profile, while understanding that away from home, consumers most enjoy watermelon raw, as a snack or with lunch.
The Board worked with the following foodservice outlets:
•Another Broken Egg – Chain wide usage in 74 outlets included a fruit side and Watermelon Cucumber Cooler. This year, the promotion started earlier in the year (March 17) and, for the first time, the chain tested a savory application, Tacos Verano with Watermelon Salsa.
•First Watch-Running June 1 through the end of August in 380 locations, the Watermelon Wake Up juice scored a 96/100 for frequency of ordering desire on Datassentials SCORES, a monthly report that tracks and ranks new menu items tested with consumers. Promotions included in-store chalkboards, e-blast, blog post and social.
•Nektar -Expanded social media promotional elements including Instagram Live and Stories withNektar founder Alexis Schulzeand Board beverage consultantTony Pereyra, amplified on Board channels. Offeringsin 165 unitsincludeda smoothieand juice, running from June 15 until Labor Day weekend.
•Robeks – Custom graphics on Instagram and Facebook promoting the Wailea Watermelon Smoothie, a customer favorite,in 84 locations.
“Adjusting to operators’and consumers’ needs was a top priority this year,” said Megan McKenna, Senior Director of Marketing and Foodservice. “Additionally, leveraging existing relationships with past partners has made executing programming straight forward and incredibly successful.”
“You know you have a hit when guests ask for more watermelon salsa on an already generous portion or my favorite, when a guests asked how much for a container to take home because they know a dozen other things that the bright, sweet, spicy, crunchy, salty goodness would go with!” said Jason Knoll, Vice President of Culinary, Another Broken Egg of America Franchising, LLC.
Looking forward to fall/winter programming, the Board will continue to monitor foodservice needs and consumer trends. For more information about the Foodservice program, including how NWPB can support watermelon usage in the foodservice sector, visit watermelon.org/foodservice or contact Megan McKenna at email@example.com.