Chefs around the world certainly have a lot of issues to contend with nowadays, like labor shortages and supply chain issues, not to mention attracting new and returning customers. But this is only part of the restaurant business: you also need to make each eating experience new and exciting. This means restaurant owners and chefs are constantly looking to change and expand upon their menu.
But what happens when you’ve run out of ideas or aren’t sure which course to bet on next? Zanduco Restaurant Equipment & Supplies understands that restaurant goers’ tastes tire easily and struggling from menu fatigue is no laughing matter.
Here are some tips to help get you inspired again!
Make It Spicy & Saucy
One great way to help restaurant-goers avoid getting tired of the same old thing over and over again is to experiment with different spices and sauces. You can come up with different signature spice and sauce blends to add to your savory and meat dishes or create small tasting menus exploring different, more exotic tastes.
Offering more innovative sauces is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to expand your menu. Simply choose a sauce base like ketchup or mayo or something else, then work on adding unique spices and more ingredients to be able to provide customers with more flavor options. You can even create tasting platters with different dipping sauces.
Add Some Flair to Your Proteins
If your restaurant has a variety of different meat or other protein dishes, you can try experimenting with them and adding some flair in a number of different ways. For example, you can use one type of protein for a variety of dishes, say by using pork shoulder for pulled pork, as well as in steamed pork buns and spicy nachos. Adding twists that are regional is another great way to make your protein dishes really take off. Consider where you are and if there are any regional dishes you can add to your menu for some extra flair, like Boston Butt sandwiches or Philly Cheesesteaks.
Also, if you go the regional route and have food providers that source local meat and ingredients, be sure to mention this on your menu. Customers appreciate food that is fresh and locally sourced.
It’s no secret that guests love a good plate of French fries. But these days, many chefs are also using fries as inspiration to create something new. People get excited about a menu with a variety of fries, especially if the food offerings are innovative. For example, if your customers are sick of traditional French fries, why not try whipping up some French fry nachos? Or you can dress up your fries with more unique seasonings, like Nashville hot seasoning or Montreal steak seasoning. If you want to get really inventive, you can also follow the French Canadian tradition of making poutine, a dish with crispy French fries that are covered in curd cheese, brown gravy, and in some cases, everything from fried bacon to foie gras.
Don’t Be Afraid to Go Frozen
Although it’s no secret that often, fresh, and ready ingredients can be preferable to frozen ones. However, in some cases, frozen food items can retain their flavor quite well, especially when it comes to fries, onion rings, and other dishes that will go directly into the fryer. With many restaurants dealing with food supply and labor shortages, along with the need to streamline menus, investing in some frozen food items can actually help offset the rising cost of ingredients. It allows you to basically do more with less, and still experiment as we mentioned above without having to truly affect your bottom line to do so.
Additionally, going frozen when it comes to fries, onion rings, fried chicken, fish, or other protein items makes preparation much more efficient. There’s no need to hand-cut French fries or bread food items like before. Plus, in most cases, the frozen food you get will be more consistent than doing all the prep work yourself anyway.
3 More Reasons for Mixing Up Your Menu Before You Go…
Hopefully, some of the info above has given you some inspiration to help you mix things up a little and avoid menu fatigue among customers. Of course, menu fatigue isn’t the only reason to mix up your menu and make seasonal changes or add new dishes occasionally. There are a few more, such as:
- Increased Revenue: If you notice your customers eye those menu holders like they wish they’d gone somewhere else, it’s definitely time to make some changes. Of course, offering new dishes will excite your current customers and keep your loyal clientele coming back, but it’s also a great way to attract new customers via word of mouth or foot traffic. Again, this is where buying fresh, local ingredients can also help increase the appeal of an updated menu.
- Test Your New Ideas: Every menu item doesn’t have to be set in stone, especially if you want to test out your new creations and see if there’s a market for them among your customers. Crowdsourcing your new menu ideas is often a good way to gauge customers’ tastes and interest in new menu items, so you don’t go through all the trouble of creating something for nothing. You can market them as seasonal dishes, that way if they don’t appear on the menu permanently, customers won’t be as surprised.
- Starting a Dialogue with Your Customers: Another great benefit of changing your menu when you can is that it gives you more of an active way to engage with your customers. It gives them a chance to get a look at what’s behind the menu and interact with you and your team on a more personal level. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on a new dish. One easy way to do this is to use social media to your advantage. Ask for input and create a showdown between two menu items or some sort of competition to increase engagement.
Contact us today for more cooking advice and essential cooking equipment and supplies
For more about how to spice up your menu or ingredients and the equipment to help you do so, Zanduco Restaurant Equipment & Supplies would love to hear from you. In addition to our four-page black menu holders, we also carry a range of restaurant equipment, smallwares and tabletop supplies, and more.
Contact us online today to order or call 1 (855) ZANDUCO.