Ash Wednesday marked the first day of Lent, which for most Christians (me included!) means no meat on Fridays until Easter. Let’s be honest, not my favorite time of year since I’m a carnivore of the highest degree and it falls right smack dab in the middle of my birthday. But I digress.
Lent means that those who partake in this tradition have to get creative. For most, this means pizza. Or fish. Like fish all the time. So, restaurants have this awesome opportunity for people looking for different lent dishes, trying to veer away from all the fish and all the pizza. I mean, even McDonald’s came out with a new product for this Lenten season (Fish McBites yum), so you may as well too.
This might seem like a no-brainer since veggies taking center plate isn’t so much a Lenten thing as it is a menu trend for 2013, but this is a great time to test out those veggie dishes. Lentil soups, spaghetti squash, zucchini boats paired with quinoa… the possibilities are endless! Test out all sorts of Lent dishes and see which ones perform best on your menu, and consider adding them to your line-up. All of your health conscious diners will surely appreciate these added dishes throughout the rest of the year too.
Goat cheese and asparagus crepes? Um, yum. How about we add some salmon? Double yum. Savory crepes aren’t something you normally see on menus, and if you do it’s usually with chicken, but try doing some meatless crepes that aren’t all just about Nutella and sugar and I think you’ll have some diners lined up out the doors.
I’m a firm believer that if you add avocado to anything you’ll be selling it like hotcakes. Make a premium grilled cheese with 4 types of cheese, tomatoes, and avocado and I’m sure people will forget all about the bacon. Or try a sprout sandwich (goes well with avocado too – see a trend here?) or a Portobello mushroom sandwich. These Lent dishes could be great additions to your normal chicken sandwiches and burgers on your menu.
Seafood with a Twist
Salmon is a given on almost any menu. But why not go with the trend and try a fish that isn’t so common right now? Sablefish, skates, eels – all things that people with outgoing taste buds will jump with joy to try since they can’t eat meat on Fridays.
No matter what you do during the Lenten season to attract diners, just remember that being different is always key! This Lent, give up going by the book.