We all remember the adage for time change, spring forward and fall back; but when it comes to our restaurant offering, we need to continue forward all year around. As we talked about when spring was right around the corner, you need to start thinking fall and make the changes necessary to keep your offering fresh and appealing to the guests.
As the new school year begins, the sun starts to set earlier and the in some areas the temperature begins to cool, the entire consumer “force” shifts to home, comfort and getting ready for winter. It is time to take advantage of the change in season and change your menu. Just like your spring/summer menu, your fall changes don’t have to be complicated. Here are some thoughts to consider:
- Get you staff involved. Everyone has a favorite fall food item: apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, brussel sprout, pear or squash. Collect ideas and try them out as an LTO. It could even be fun to call out the employee that contributed to the idea.
- Talk with your suppliers. What does the market basket look like in your area and plan accordingly. We know the food market index is decreasing but ask your supplier what that means for you locally.
- Don’t run away from those ‘unique’ fall items. Turnips, squash, rutabaga and parsnips can make a healthy, low cost dish by adding protein or using as a great side dish.
- Move from the light and fresh spring items to the comfort of the fall. Stews and roasted dishes are a great fall alternative. You can still stay healthy, just add some root vegetables to your favorite meat dish.
- Bring the fall to life with your bar menu. Try some new twists to old bar favorites, adding the flavors of fall. Think about adding items like a pumpkin spiced martini, appletini or fall harvest beer.
- Plan your menus into the holiday season so you can take advantage of promoting your special soon. While we are not at the point of holiday transitions right at Halloween (as our retail counterparts are), you can still be fully planned and ready at this time.
Also, keep in mind, if you have a patio find new ways to keep it open as long as you can. Guests love to dine el fresco (just make sure it is not el freezo). Investing in a few patio heaters can be a great way to keep the patio seating to produce revenue (just be sure to check with your municipality first for permit needs and restrictions). Just like your fall menu, the cozier the better.
Take advantage of the fall change and bring fall indoors with new interesting flavors and offers, you’ll be surprised how exciting the change of season can really be!