According to Datassential, in January 2021, 8 percent of restaurant operators said labor was their biggest challenge—but by August 2021, that number had risen to 57 percent. As the labor crisis rages on, operators are once again entangled in a game of bob-and-weave.
Continuing supply chain woes and record inflation rates only add to the uncertainty. “We’ve entered into an inflationary crisis while the foodservice industry is already struggling,” says Todd Michael, senior director of the foodservice division at Knouse Foods. “At the same time, the labor situation isn’t getting better. We think this dynamic will last at least another 12 to 18 months.”
This means restaurant operators should plan to allocate an even bigger share of already slim profits to rising wages. In order to maximize ROI, operators must think of clever ways to save money where they can. One way to do that is by adding shelf-stable, ”labor free” products such as Musselman’s Apple Sauce to quick-serve menus.
In comparison to french fries—which must be kept frozen or cut by hand, removed from their packaging, cooked, and put into different packaging before serving—Musselman’s Apple Sauce can be quickly placed into a bag at the drive-thru window. Since it’s sealed inside the manufacturing facility, food safety is ensured.
“One of the biggest advantages of our product is that it is shelf stable, which helps keep food costs down,” Michael says. “So even if your labor costs are going up, this is an area where you’re not going to get creamed. Additionally, the packaging is convenient for storage within any footprint of the operation’s layout.”
Another benefit to adding Musselman’s to the menu mix? Since it’s ready to serve, there’s no need for training on how to prepare it. Operators can, however, train staff to upsell—a skill that comes in handy no matter what the restaurant is promoting.
“From an operator’s perspective, this is an easily marketable item,” says Kevin Blacker, director of marketing at Knouse Foods. “You’ll likely yield more profitability with Musselman’s Apple Sauce than you would with a bag of chips, and enjoy the benefits of the health ‘halo’ effect that comes with offering better-for-you foods. We have franchisees with a large quick-service brand that have caught on to selling our item a la carte. It benefits them across the board as a simple, healthy alternative that consumers will love.”
Musselman’s parent company, Knouse Foods, is a grower-owned cooperative made up of family farmers, and they provide applesauce to several of the nation’s largest quick-service brands. For customers concerned with sustainability, they can rest assured knowing they are receiving a high-quality product that is made with care—literally handpicked at family farms.
“Meat prices and other categories have skyrocketed,” Blacker says. “When you’re looking for a healthy option that tastes great and doesn’t take any time for your team to prepare, we have a lower-priced item compared to other categories out there.”
For operators looking for one more way to save time and money, Musselman’s Apple Sauce is a logical choice. This labor-free, low-cost option not only appeals to health-conscious consumers and kids, it makes sense for the bottom line.
To learn more about how Musselman’s can help trim labor costs, visit the Knouse Foods’ website.