California-based Restaurant Chains Leverage California Avocado Season to Promote Freshness on the Menu
Promoting California avocados on the menu during California avocado season provides a halo effect for restaurant chains that partner with the California Avocado Commission and showcase the fruit during its peak availability. In fact, according to Menu Matters, almost 90% of consumers believe restaurants with California avocados on the menu feature fresh and high-quality ingredients. To help increase awareness of fresh California avocados and their unique seasonality and availability in meals away from home, from June through August the Commission partnered with seven California-based chains to celebrate peak California avocado season with a variety of menu applications.
This year, keeping in mind the COVID-19 crisis, the Commission shifted away from requiring the returning chain partners to use the California Avocado brand logo on in-store promotional materials, instead permitting chains to showcase the logo on their websites and social media posts. San Francisco-based MIXT, a healthy lifestyle fast casual restaurant brand, and their sister concept Split both promoted fresh California avocados on their websites, enewsletters and Facebook and Instagram social channels. To drive engagement and interest with their consumers, MIXT also featured a giveaway of California avocado merchandise. Twelve units located around the state celebrated California avocado season from June 15 — September 1.
Habit Burger Grill locations across Arizona, California and Nevada leveraged patrons’ favorite burger — the Santa Barbara Char Burger — to promote the availability of California avocados at 238 units. The Irvine-based chain ran the promotion throughout the month of July. During the same timeframe, 160 units of the Carlsbad-based Rubio’s Coastal Grill featured fresh California avocados on their menus in Arizona, California and Nevada. Their promotions wrapped up with targeted social media support on National Avocado Day, July 31.
Two other returning chain partners — Jimboy’s Tacos and Flame Broiler — ran their summer California avocado promotions from July 1 – August 15. Jimboy’s Tacos featured fresh California avocado Guacamole and Chips, as well as fresh slices of the fruit on Stuffed Quesadillas, the Taco Salad, Taquito-M-G and Avocado Salad at 41 units in California and Nevada. Flame Broiler encouraged customers to embrace fresh local ingredients by adding California avocados to any dish at 160 locations throughout California and Nevada.
San Francisco-based Ike’s Love & Sandwiches celebrated California avocado season, summer and baseball with a promotion in 69 Arizona, California and Nevada units from July 12 – August 9. The chain’s Hunter Pence sandwich featured fresh California avocados piled high on the popular sandwich. The chain also celebrated National Avocado Day with an email blast to fans promoting the Adam Richman sandwich, another popular menu item dressed up with slices of the Golden State fruit.
By showcasing California avocados on restaurant chain partners’ menus, the Commission broadened awareness of the fruit’s availability and created a sense of urgency among consumers who are eager to enjoy the fruit in meals away from home during peak season. Further, the diversity of California avocado menu applications inspire consumers to incorporate the fruit in meals at home, which may increase overall demand for the fruit in season.
*Source: Menu Matters, “Patron preference for ‘California’ and ‘California Avocados’, 2020”