The NWPB partnered with quick- and full-service restaurants, focusing on take-away and delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. ( Courtesy NWPB )

The National Watermelon Promotion Board has been working to keep watermelons on foodservice menus even as the COVID-19 pandemic changed the sector.

The board’s spring and summer foodservice promotions have focused on take-away- and delivery friendly options at quick- and full-service national chains.

Juices and smoothies were prominent in the promotions, according to a news release.

Examples of those promotions include:

  • Another Broken Egg: A fruit side, Watermelon Cucumber Cooler and a new savory dish, Tacos Verano with Watermelon Salsa, at all 74 outlets;
  • First Watch: Watermelon Wake Up juice (scoring a 96/100 for frequency of ordering desire according to Datassential), in a three-month offering beginning June 1, at 380 locations;
  • Nekter: Smoothie and juice selection at 165 units, with social media promotion, including on Instagram Live and Stories, with founder Alexis Schulze; and
  • Robeks: Wailea Watermelon Smoothie, with custom graphics on Instagram and Facebook, available at 84 locations.

“Adjusting to operators’ and consumers’ needs was a top priority this year,” Megan McKenna, the board’s senior director of marketing and foodservice, said in the release. “Additionally, leveraging existing relationships with past partners has made executing programming straightforward and incredibly successful.” 

Jason Knoll, vice president of culinary for Another Broken Egg of America Franchising LLC, said the salsa was popular.

"You know you have a hit when guests ask for more watermelon salsa on an already generous portion or my favorite, when a guests asked how much for a container to take home because they know a dozen other things that the bright, sweet, spicy, crunchy, salty goodness would go with!" Knoll said in the release.

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