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3 Tips to Optimize Your Menu for Today’s Challenges

In the face of staffing, supply, and inflation issues, restaurants like yours need ways to ease day-to-day stresses. Our advice: control what you can! That means bringing in adaptable ingredients while rethinking your menu to see where you can save time and labor. Here are a few tips to get started.

1. Get Versatile

One of the easiest ways to save resources is to see where you can use one ingredient in multiple places. For instance, you can use brioche bread for morning french toast, lunchtime sandwiches, or entrée sides in the evening.

The same idea works for cuisine type. A pulled pork can serve well on BBQ sandwiches, in spicy Korean noodle bowls, or with a North African squash-harissa dish. Staying versatile will help minimize storage and waste—especially if you have leftover ingredients from other applications.

2. Use Fully Prepared Ingredients

Preparation is a huge portion of creating a dish. From flavoring to cooking to formatting, your time is often hung up between opening the package from your supplier and plating a meal for your customer.

Try using scratch-ready ingredients that come with one or more steps already taken care of. These ready-to-go foods can increase yields, save labor, and reduce food waste to better manage overall costs—and often takes any skill and specialized equipment out of the picture.

Fully cooked proteins are a great example. You can find proteins that arrive already seasoned, marinated, cooked, sliced, pulled, and more. All you need to do is add it to other ingredients to skip a few steps, or sometimes just heat and serve. The same goes for ingredients like pre-baked frozen cake bases, pureed fruits, and pre-made sauces.

3. Re-Word to Re-Vamp

Your menu can be robust, but sometimes customers need that essential description to be persuaded to order—especially if you list an item without an accompanying photo. Try to create a compelling, descriptive write-up of your products on your menu. Instead of “a side of roasted potatoes” try “a side of warm, pan-roasted red potato thins with a rosemary seasoning.”

You should also think about renaming a menu item that you know is delicious, but just isn’t selling. A “Greek Chicken Salad” is basic, but it might appeal better as a “Lemon-Herb Mediterranean Salad with Grilled Chicken.”

And don’t forget to throw in today’s buzz words. If you can accurately claim them, try using any of these:

  • all-natural
  • unprocessed
  • locally grown
  • humanely raised
  • antioxidants
  • dairy-free
  • internationally inspired
  • superfoods
  • keto-friendly
  • artisanal

Content courtesy of Dan’s Prize