It snowed in Atlanta last week loudly pronouncing the coming of Winter. Now is the perfect time to make menu changes and to keep your dishes relevant for the new season. Our favorite warm weather items like heirloom tomatoes and sweet berries are fading away. Now, it is time to dig into winter flavors and favorites.
Is Seasonality Even Relevant?
With hydroponics, aquaponics and globalization getting fresh “summer” produce year-round is attainable. But the changing growing seasons aren’t the only reason to winterize your menu. In the colder winter months consumers’ want hearty, warm dishes. Your cold salads will see slower sales so bulking up your baked, braised, and roasted options will help fill the void. Check which menu items are starting to slip in your sales and replace them with a more seasonal options – your customers and your top line will thank you.
Using Seasonal Ingredients
Some of the best ways to capture your client’s interest (and sales) are by providing quality seasonal ingredients. Take advantage of what your landscape provides by buying less expensive commodities. Wintery greens like cabbage or collards are at their peak flavors and lowest cost as the winter approaches. Butternut squash and other starchy items like potatoes, are more valuable winter items that cost less during the season. Not surprisingly, these winter staples are commonly found in traditional hearty favorites. Incorporating seasonal ingredients is great for operators and consumers alike. Spread seasonal cheer at your restaurant while collecting good margins.
Cost Your New Menu
This may have nothing to do with a winter menu, but anytime you make a change to your menu you should re-cost it. This is also good practice as the seasons change and prices for some commodities change. If you need help with this check out our previous blog on building a menu.
As the weather changes, a solid menu adjustment can boost sales, often a fifteen-percent bump according to The Foodable Network . Don’t forget, using ingredients that are at their peak and easily accessible will reap the most benefits.