Snack-Size Portions Can Result in Full-Size Profits


Since 2007, menu items that contain the descriptors "snack," "snackable" or "snacker" have increased 170 percent as diners nationwide embrace snack options at sit-down and quick-serve restaurants, according to Mintel Menu Insights. Alerting truckstop managers to this new trend could boost restaurant sales and increase profits for locations and their suppliers alike.

Chester International has tapped into the snack trend with its Chester's Chicken on the Fly. "It is a grab-and-go concept that can work as a small meal or in between meals," said Kathryn Kudulis, brand manager for Chester.

Chester offers a two-tender snack, chicken biscuit and boxed mini-combo meals as part of the concept. "A lot of it just comes down to re-phrasing the way you're marketing the meals," Kudulis said.

McLane is finding success with its FRESH on the GO Program that offers sandwiches and snack wraps in convenience store coolers. "We have sandwiches, wraps, whole fruit, cheese, vegetables—all of which would be considered a snack option," said Steve Brady, vice president of sales for convenience and military for McLane.

McLane's program has been available for two years and continues to grow. "The fresh-concept product is the fastest selling segment in the industry," Brady said.

Eric Giandelone, director of foodservice research at Mintel Menu Insights, said offering snack options could boost sales throughout the day and during non-peak hours. "Heartier and pricier fare may have more appeal later in the day, while light options may work best in the morning or early afternoon," he explained.

Mintel's research showed that 37 percent of its respondents visited restaurants between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. for snacks. Spending, however, peaks between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. when the average amount spent is $4.26 per person versus only $3.79 across all other time periods.

Even better, boosting snack-items sales may also increase beverage sales, as 64 percent of Mintel's respondents said they purchase a drink when snacking. The research also showed 50 percent of people want something salty to snack on and 32 percent of snackers choose a healthy option.

{HBMHighway Business Matters is a brief semi-monthly newsletter created exclusively for companies that provide products or services to the truckstop and travel plaza industry. Highway Business Matters will keep you informed on trends, tactics, and tips to help you connect to the $65 billion truckstop and travel plaza industry. 

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Mindy Long's photo

Mindy Long

Before launching a full-time freelance career, Long edited NATSO's Stop Watch magazine. Prior to that Long worked as a staff reporter for Transport Topics, a weekly trade newspaper, covering freight transportation, fuel and environmental issues. In addition to covering the transportation sector, Long has written, reported and edited for a variety of media outlets. She was the Washington correspondent for WCAX-TV (CBS) in Burlington, Vt., a criminal court reporter in Chicago and a freelance copy editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine in Washington D.C. Long hold a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., and a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Westminster College in Salt Lake City.More
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Chester InternationalMcLane Co. Inc.Mintel Menu Insights

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