As the healthy lifestyle movement has swept through the U.S., forcing many quick serves to re-evaluate their menus, buffet-style concepts where quantity is the definition of value have been stuck in a difficult position in developing ways to fit into that lifestyle.
Atlanta-based Stevi B’s Pizza Buffet, however, is responding to the health movement with subtle changes throughout its brand.
“We, right off the bat, allow people to make some smarter choices versus just having to eat what’s on the buffet,” says Allyson Smith, Stevi B’s leadership team member. “We don’t oversell it as, ‘Hey, if you order this, this, and this, it will be 50 percent less calories.’ That’s not the way we market it. We market it through providing and marketing the choices that consumers have when they eat at our buffet.”
Stevi B’s offers customers a variety of healthier menu options, providing guests with whole-wheat and thin crusts, a salad bar, and a variety of unsweetened or no-carb beverages. The brand recently added Lipton unsweetened green tea to its beverage lineup and is pursuing the addition of Sobi zero-calorie products. In the coming year, the concept plans to enhance the salad bar by providing more fresh, healthy toppings and low-fat dressings.
Enhancing the customization component has also given Stevi B’s some appeal to health-conscious customers.
“You can order whatever you want at Stevi B’s and get it made just for you at no additional charge,” Smith says. “It’s all part of the buffet. That’s definitely been a big initiative for us, to provide customization to allow guests to eat how they want to eat.”
Smith believes catering to guests’ dietary needs is essential to becoming a customer-centered brand.
“That’s one of the benefits of Stevi B’s Pizza Buffet, is that you can get pizzas made just how you want them,” Smith says. “In a lot of other buffets, you’re confined to what’s up and available.”
Stevi B’s promotes its healthy product offerings through social media campaigns and its annual “Free Pizza Day.” Smith says consumers have welcomed the healthier offerings, and that, because Stevi B’s provides a family-oriented environment, moms especially appreciate the whole-wheat offerings.
By Marlee Murphy