Consumers are eager to get restaurant meals – but soaring consumer prices (inflation is at its highest rate in 40 years) can create a barrier. This often means that a meal eaten at a restaurant or taken out has to be extra special. Are there ways you can level up the experience of your menu with a memorable presentation or ingredient? Your appetizer and dessert menus are ideal places to start, since your guests may not prepare multi-course meals for themselves at home.
At a time when restaurant operators feel the need to do as much as possible with a simplified inventory of ingredients, the way you build and present a dish carries extra weight – and can make your restaurant that much more appealing to people eager to try a creative dish right now. Are there dishes on your menu that you could improve simply by presenting them in a surprising format? Before you swap out a menu item that isn’t as popular as you expected it might be, ask if it’s ripe for reinvention.
As much as people are eager to gather again and celebrate with food and drink, the transition back to bustling restaurant dining rooms packed with patrons could take some more time. This could be an especially creative time for operators and chefs, who can make their menu more of a spectacle than before – something that is best appreciated in a restaurant dining room and is impossible to replicate in a take-away bag. As you welcome guests back, consider assembling, cooking or adding finishing touches to dishes tableside to create fresh, exciting dining room experiences that will entice people to come back with friends.
Could you create a new eating experience for your guests just by thinking about your menu presentation in a new way? Consider how the founders of Sushirrito created a sensation by making sushi portable. Now that communities are reopening again, more people will be looking to enjoy the experience of sitting in a restaurant dining room again or getting food on the way to an activity. How can your existing menu flex to meet the moment, and in the process, generate some new interest?