If a venue has a core menu that they are well known for, seasonal adaptations can be made without having a complete overhaul. This can be achieved by using the same base product but with slight tweaks each time – for example fries could be served with a lemon and herb seasoning in summer, rosemary and garlic in autumn and parmesan and rosemary in winter. It’s a simple tweak for the operator that can lift a menu during the different seasons. Alternatively, it could be the perfect chance to experiment with new flavours and create a real consumer buzz. Try experimenting with vegan, vegetarian and free-from twists to classic dishes, use lots of colourful ingredients and create a dish that looks as good as it tastes. All easy adaptations that make the consumer feel like they are getting a new and exciting offer every time.
As people explore more of the world and try different foods and flavours, they begin to expect more from food when they are eating out of home. At the same time, consumers are more aware of food’s carbon footprint and there is an increased demand for local produce, which in turn goes hand-in-hand with seasonality. When creating a seasonal menu, operators should see what is available from producers close by and incorporate a few products into the menu where possible that still create big hits of flavour. The key here is to know exactly where produce is from to ensure it is local. By doing this, operators are not only then seen to be supporting local businesses but it can bring in new customers who are passionate about locality.
Also, by introducing seasonal menu changes, a venue can keep up-to-date with the latest trends, and keep both customers and staff on their toes. What’s more, it provides the opportunity to offer not only a dynamic element to a menu, but the chance to showcase creativity and forward thinking. Temporary or limited-edition seasonal dishes give teams the chance to try, cook with and talk about new ingredients while chefs are given the ability to with new techniques and show off their skills in the kitchen. Enthusiasm back of house will always translate well to consumers, creating an enjoyable dining environment.
Having a seasonal menu creates a reason for operators to engage with consumers looking for a promotion. What’s more, a limited edition that comes hand in hand with seasonal menu changes can create more demand than an ongoing one offer. MCA’s UK Eating Out Market Report 2018 which was launched earlier this month found that a whopping 31.5% visits to branded restaurants in Q1 of 2018 involved a deal. This could be anything from a lunchtime special to offering a side trade up from Pommes Frites to Sweet Potato Fries for no extra cost on certain days. Operators should experiment with different offers and see what resonates with their consumers best.
For more information about how Lamb Weston can help you easily create an innovative and exciting seasonal menu, get in touch with our sales team via the Contact Form on this website.