Dessert doesn’t have to be decadent – and at a time when consumers are concerned with their health, providing some interesting end-of-meal options that aren’t only eye-catching but are also lower in sugar and higher in nutrients can help you boost check totals. Consider offering simple combinations of fresh ingredients or using fruit or yogurt to create a lighter twist on classic desserts.
Fall’s cooler temperatures call for cozy foods – and soups and stews are prime menu additions for restaurants right now. They are easy add-ons to a meal, they help operators incorporate the abundant produce of the season, and they are big-time efficiency boosters when it comes to your inventory. This season, consider soups and stews with plant-forward ingredients and lean proteins that combine comfort and health.
As we continue to figure out what school and work routines will look like this fall, your dayparts may be in flux for some time. The lack of clear boundary between meals and snack times means restaurant operators could have more leeway to blend them in creative ways. Consider your most popular breakfast or lunch items, or late-afternoon snack and dinner options, and how you might combine them to create something exciting and unexpected.
The season of hearty food is upon us. As the weather cools, customers will be craving warming, filling options that taste good on autumn days. In the months leading up to the holidays, which are often filled with classic American dishes, take a broader view and consider these chillier months as opportunities to add some global flair to your menu – especially as international travel remains slow. Where can you add some interest to your menu with authentic dishes from other places?
As summer starts to cool off and fall arrives, your guests will start to crave cozy comfort foods like soups, stews and hearty entrées. At the same time, they will continue to be drawn to meals with healthy, fresh ingredients that can be enjoyed as weeknight take-outs on busy nights, as well as at the end of busy weeks. Do you offer a range of options that tick the comfort-food box and provide some plant-forward nutrition or other healthy ingredients?
Who doesn’t love an Italian meal? Throughout the pandemic, it was a go-to comfort food option for people preparing food at home and ordering individual and family-style meals to go. Now that people are returning to dine in restaurants, consumers are showing increased interest in authentic Italian dishes that contain health-conscious and/or premium ingredients, according to a survey of Italian food suppliers on Italianfood.net. Taking a look at the Italian dishes on your menu, how can you offer a more authentic Italian dining experience and elevate the ingredients you offer?
Summer is sandwich time as your guests seek out foods they can eat at the beach or on the go. To make your menu stand out from anything people would prepare at home, weave some of the excitement of your appetizer or entrée menu into your sandwich offerings. Is there a popular item on your menu that, with a little creativity, could be reinvented as a sandwich (and help you make your ingredients go even further in the meantime)?
It’s salad season – and chances are the weather is making salads all the more appealing to your guests as not just simple side dishes but also as entrées. Make them a more interesting and satisfying menu option by playing with textures and unexpected ingredients. Beyond greens and vegetables, think whole grains, nuts, berries and seeds – especially options like rice, pistachios, blackberries, pomegranate seeds and other items you wouldn’t immediately think of adding to a salad.
Nothing brings out the taste of summer barbecues quite like smoky flavor. And while smoking often conjures thoughts of large cuts of meat and long, overnight cooking sessions, smoky flavor can also elevate the vegetables, desserts and even cocktails on your menu – and without taking all night. This season, consider adding a new smoky dimension to your food and drink options, both sweet and savory.
It may seem challenging to create exciting, frequently changing menus using a small number of core ingredients. But it can be as simple as regularly changing up your menu presentations – recasting your fajitas as a spicy soup special, a salad as a sandwich, a popular entrée as a panini, or even adjusting presentations within a menu category. Looking across your menu, take a dish and imagine it in new formats. If you’re hit with a sudden supply shortage, you’ll have additional options to work with if you can flexibly translate a dish in several ways.