The mango industry already has one foot in the door of the foodservice industry, with National Mango Board marketing director Megan McKenna serving as president of the International Foodservice Editorial Council.

But that’s only one foot.

The board is working in numerous ways to get mangoes placed on restaurant menus, McKenna said.

“NMB works closely with foodservice media to gain mango coverage through press releases, image support, attendance and sponsorship at the Multicultural Cuisine Editor Brunch at NRA (the National Restaurant Association convention) and the International Foodservice Editorial Council,” she said.

That multi-pronged involvement is just part of the effort, though, McKenna said.

There are promotions under way, too.

Santa Ana, Calif.-based BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse is in the midst of a menu item promotion featuring the mango board logo on point-of-sale materials and fresh mangoes on its menu. It’s the third year in a row for the promotion, which will run through April 23.

This year, BJ’s is promoting Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Minty Mango Salsa and Thai Salmon with Fresh Mango Salsa.

“These recipes will be available to guests at all of their 117 restaurants nationwide on an in-restaurant menu outsert,” McKenna said.

This year, between Feb. 8 and April 30, the board is working for the first time with Carlsbad, Calif.-based Daphne’s California Greek restaurants with p.o.s. materials and new mango offerings, including Mango Shrimp Salad topped with mango salsa.

“They will be promoting the new dish through various collateral materials such as direct mail flyers, floor banners and in-store counter cards for their 55 locations throughout California, Arizona and Colorado,” McKenna said.

Other promotions scheduled this year:

  • During the summer, Sodexo Inc., an institutional foodservice company with 1,200 units, will have p.o.s. materials with the board logo and six menu items that include mangoes.
  • The mango board will attend and serve as a sponsor of the National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executive Group event in May and Flavor Experience in August.

There is plenty of room for growth in the foodservice sector for mangoes, said Jesse Capote, vice president and owner of Miami-based J&C Tropicals.

“There are restaurants in New York, L.A., Miami and Texas that do have mangoes available fresh, in salsas and whatnot, but there are opportunities in foodservice in other parts of the country,” he said.

Expect the industry to pursue those opportunities, said William Watson, the mango board’s executive director.

“Foodservice is a big business channel, and we’re going to continue to rattle that chain,” he said.