Are you capitalizing on menu trends?

Aug 21, 2018 bcrfauser01

2018 is bringing back some traditional foods that, made in house, can be a value add for customers and increase your menu profitability. Here are three trends that you can explore that take advantage of the late summer and fall harvests.

Think Local

There is a growing trend for dishes created with ingredients sourced as close as possible to your restaurant. In season fruits and vegetables that travel a short distance to your business maintain flavour and freshness that is unparalleled and give your team a story to tell about where they are from and who the farmer, producer or processor is.

Customers are looking to dine at restaurants where the operator’s values match their own. Talking about local food is a great way to share a value system – and the best way for you to capitalize on this trend is through focused menu labeling.

You may already be serving 100% BC eggs and BC chicken, but if you aren’t telling your customers – they can’t get excited about your commitment to local sourcing. Changing your menu from “Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower and Green Bean in a Pesto puree” to “Roasted Fraser Valley Chicken with local vegetables in a house-made Pesto puree” isn’t a big change – it’s few more words – but for one or two locally focused menus items – it can make all the difference. Try it and let us know how it goes!

Gut-friendly Foods

Canning was once a huge part of the annual household food plan as a way to have the harvest last through the long winter months. With the new enthusiasm for local food and fresh ingredients, it’s coming back with gusto. With canning on the rise, fermenting, picking and preserving are reaching into restaurants and into home kitchens. Adding a house made pickle to a charcuterie plate or a pickled radish to a salad adds a touch of on-trend elegance. New tech is partnering with tradition to create pickling processes that are as short as a few hours. The time commitment is small for your kitchen team – but the flavour rewards are big.

Want to learn about preserving foods and the health benefits? The BBC has a beginner’s guide to fermented foods that is fun place to start.

If you just want to add something gut friendly that you don’t make in house, probiotic foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and kefir follow this trend – as do prebiotics such as onions, garlic and other alliums. Adding these to existing menu items can be simple but offer an opportunity to engage with your customers.

Food for your brain

If you haven’t heard of Nootropics, you won’t be the only one. The new health-conscious food trend is consuming “nootropics” – brain food to you and me – are a group of foods that increase mental performance in healthy people. You may not include this on your menu yet – but start reading about it so that you know what your customers are thinking about. Look out for turmeric, salmon, eggs, dandelion greens and jícama (Mexican yam) to appear on menus. Caffeine will make a comeback with this trend with natural sources of coffee, cocoa and tea and guarana.