Creating a profitable menu – it’s a job you either love or you hate. Perhaps your venue has its standard offerings as well as a range of specials or perhaps you have a rotating menu following the seasons? Regardless of which you choose, we recommend that you take a close look at your menu regularly to determine which items are popular and which are not.
There is no better time to assess your menu than at the beginning of winter when the weather changes and diners seek out comfort in the form of food. Are you considering whether to embrace a seasonal menu? Do you still need some convincing? Read on…
Keep your staff engaged
It may not be the first thing you think of but embracing a seasonal menu is a great way to keep your staff interested. Switching up the menu (whether that’s on a seasonal basis or with weekly specials) gives your kitchen team the chance to get creative, use new ingredients and experiment with new techniques. At the same time the front of house staff have the opportunity to pass along enthusiasm for new item to diners.
Excite loyal customers
Loyal customers are a valuable asset to any venue and likely have menu favourites they would be sad to see go. But that doesn’t mean you can’t change up your menu, instead get them involved in the process, ask them what it is about certain items they love, what they don’t like about some and which ones they would remove from your menu. This will mean they are on board when the menu changes and gives you free market research.
Entice new customers
Seasonal menu changes are a great opportunity to leverage social media marketing – there is nothing more enticing than a limited time offer. Make sure you get good quality photos and videos of your new dishes so potential new customers know exactly what they can expect. Menu launches can also entice new customers in off the street, who want to check out what all the fuss is about.
Controlling food costs is of course a priority all year round for all venues, but have you ever thought about the impact of your year-round menu on your budget? Many items become more expensive as they go out of season. By using a seasonal menu that focuses on foods that are in season right now, you may save yourself some cash.
Support other local businesses
While you’re watching food costs by ordering seasonal foods, it also presents an opportunity to support local businesses by increasing your supply from local farms. Customers often respond well to ingredients that are connected to a local business (as they know they are fresh, but also that they are supporting the local community).
So what menu items should you introduce? Here are some of our favourites:
Are you creating a winter menu this month? We’d love to hear about it!