New Menu Ideas to Help You Stay on Top of Restaurant Trends
Enhance Your Selection with These Menu Ideas
There’s conflicting information in the restaurant world regarding the hottest new trends – some say innovative and international flavors are the next big thing, while others insist that familiar comfort foods are what diners want most. In all likelihood, both viewpoints probably have some truth to them. Differences in demographics, personal preferences, and even mood result in extreme variety of restaurant and food choices.
With this understanding, how do you make the best choice for enhancing the selection at your restaurant or bar? We’ve got some menu ideas for you.
Develop your small plates and snack variety.
This part of your menu is a win/win for everyone – patrons who are concerned with portion size and health can find options, and those who want more substance can try several small plates. The prevalence of after-work happy hours as well as late-night date nights for busy couples makes this a success waiting to happen.
The concept of small plates can encompass several types of food, from simple vegetable dishes to fried fare to nibbles like olives or gourmet popcorn – which is easier and more profitable than you might think. When you expand this section of your menu to offer more for your customers, it is still relatively easy for your cooks and servers to deliver the items and does not demand much extra effort.
Spice up your flavors.
To cater to the younger crowd, consider an international twist on a few signature entrees. Sauces and spices such as chimichurri, Korean barbecue, and Sriracha are all easy to incorporate into ordinary dishes to give them a fresh kick. Offer these types of items as limited-time specials to determine your clientele’s reaction to them.
Experimenting with spices and other flavors is also extremely easy to do with a low-stakes option like popcorn. Let patrons sample Barbecue, Hot Jalapeño, or Bacon & Cheese popcorn toppings to gauge their interest in surprising tastes.
This is especially effective if your business serves standard menu items like burgers and fries. Upgrade to the highest-quality hot dogs and beef patties and pair them with surprising toppings like piquillo peppers, goat cheese, and arugula. These twists on traditional favorites can generate renewed interest in your foods and also allow you to charge slightly higher prices.
To add more value to your menu, offer drink pairings with select food choices. Cabernet pairs well with red meat dishes and IPAs can be matched with pork, for example. Suggest house cocktails with some dishes as well for even more choices.
Ultimately, you know your customers best, so pay attention to their particular likes and dislikes, and don’t be afraid to ask them what they want. Surveys attached to coupons, discounts, or other rewards can get you information that’s worth much more than just following the latest restaurant trends. You can also ask your waitstaff what questions they frequently hear about the menu. If you notice a theme, that’s a great place to begin your investigation.