At a time when consumers are leaning into plant-forward dishes and favoring healthy foods that are high in flavor, the Mediterranean options on your menu can be reliable alternatives. They’re easier on the budget and can be recreated with different shelf-stable ingredients. They also leave room for customization with animal proteins or your own creative twists.
At a moment when consumers are looking for convenience, portability and affordability, your sandwich menu can meet some, if not all, of those needs. Consider changing up the proteins you offer between the bread or prepare them in new ways, adding some global flavor or spice to the accompanying condiments, and weaving in some in-season produce. Your sandwich menu can offer you some low-risk areas to test your roster of limited-time offers as well — something that will keep guests interested in returning.
Mediterranean diets are among the few diets that have retained their popularity with nutritionists and consumers alike over the years. If your guests are looking for more Mediterranean-style dishes, pita bread can be a versatile carrier for healthy ingredients on your appetizer and entrée menus. Consider filling it with ingredients like chickpeas, sweet potatoes and greens for a light sandwich option, toasting pita triangles to serve as scoops for hummus or as Mediterranean-style nachos, or topping it with roasted vegetables for a health-conscious pizza.
Some ingredients simply gain a cult following. That has been the case with avocados in recent years, whether as part of the internet sensation they created when spread on toast or simply as a salad topper, smoothie ingredient or guacamole base. But in a period when near-constant climate challenges, inflation and supply chain woes are impacting so many ingredients at once, avocados are one of many ingredients to carry an increasingly out-of-reach price tag these days. The U.S Department of Agriculture said average avocado prices spiked 30 percent in late July over the same period last year. They are just one example of how operators can’t rest on their laurels when it comes to menu engineering and menu planning in general. Each item on your menu should be popular and profitable. If you’re not ready to take a popular item off the menu, consider how you can offer it at a higher price point or with more economical ingredients. Being known for a signature item can be a blessing in good times and a curse in others — consider the brand challenges of Wingstop when chicken wings suddenly became scarce. It’s crucial to keep testing new ideas so that when one popular ingredient is unavailable, you have a couple of understudy dishes ready in the wings. Offer them as limited-time specials or in VIP test tastings for your best guests so you’re regularly collecting data on what’s working, what’s not and what substitutes can be swapped in with the greatest acceptance from guests. Who knows? You may accidentally create the next avocado toast for your guests.
Is there a more perfect appetizer than sliders? They’re shareable, customizable and have Instagram-worthy visual appeal. What’s more, they have evolved well beyond the mini meat-patty variety. Consider creative slider options for your vegetarian, flexitarian and pescatarian guests alike – or even create a customizable sampler platter that suits the tastes of the group