Let’s face it, professional Head Chefs have a lot on their plate – from ensuring the kitchen brigade works efficiently to monitoring food quality before dishes fly out to customers. It’s no surprise that those who work through a mountain of head chef jobs on a daily basis may groan inwardly at the prospect of seasonal restaurant menu changes.
However, recurring restaurant menu updates don’t have to be an intimidating task. In fact, your restaurant menu can inspire your kitchen brigade to get creative with in-season ingredients and food trends while you impress your regulars with new menu offerings and grow your customer base. As far as consistency is concerned, you won’t lose customers – as long as your restaurant is delivering the same stellar experience again and again. In fact, you will likely gain new patrons because of the seasonally variety offered.
Although your day is undoubtedly inundated with a vast range of head chef jobs, we share our top three tips to keep your restaurant menu fresh, without sacrificing consistency.
Keep staple items the same in your restaurant menu
If you’re famous for your entrees and don’t want to change them, then leave the star of the dish whilst alternating the sides based on what produce is in season. For example, you could feature lamb chops accompanied by two sides which alternate depending on the season – i.e. Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes in the winter and asparagus and watercress greens topped with avocado in the Spring.
Featuring in-season sides is an easy and practical way to change your menu while still maintaining the foundation of the dish.
Feature seasonal dishes in your restaurant menu
As the seasons change, so does the produce available for consumption. Produce consumed during its season is fresher, richer in nutrients, and in its prime. If you play with seasonal produce and include them in your seasonal restaurant menu offerings, your restaurant customers will begin to anticipate your restaurant menu changes, and be excited to try them. Have fun and translate seasonal produce into mouth-watering masterpieces.
Turn your restaurant menu into a flavour playground
Different textures and tastes, especially when combined, can enhance the seasonality of a dish. For example, topping your rocket and feta salad with watermelon and mint will highlight summer flavours. Whereas sprinkling cinnamon and nutmeg on top of a slow-roasted duck entree will bring out the comforts of winter. There are limitless combinations you can showcase, and it’s an excellent way for your chefs to showcase their creativity and talent.
Ensure front of house staff adapt their knowledge to restaurant menu changes
When you do change your restaurant menu, communicate to front of house staff why certain changes were made. This will enable them to answer questions, upsell, and passionately convey why the menu has changed. If you are a full-service venue, take your point of sale system tableside, cheat-sheet equipped with pictures and descriptions of the seasonal options and additives. By doing this, front of house staff will always feel confident selling new additions and answering questions about preparation and ingredients.