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In the ever-changing, highly competitive restaurant industry, it’s critical to strategize and find ways to attract new customers. By keeping your menu interesting, you can stand out from the crowd and bring in adventurous diners.
Below are four ways to set your menu apart and keep adventurous diners on their toes.
1) Customize dishes with house-made sauces.
Adventurous restaurant-goers are seeking novel dining experiences and one-of-a-kind recipes. To intrigue them, offer original dishes with interesting flavors they can’t get elsewhere. As a restauranteur, you may be wondering, “How can I offer a diverse menu with obscure ingredients and still maintain a healthy profit margin?” Good question. The secret’s in the sauce.
By creating original, homemade sauces, you can add interest to everyday menu items and make them your own — without reinventing the recipe wheel (or spending too much time). And to further minimize associated food and labor costs, create versatile sauce flavors that can spice up more than just one dish. For example, maybe you’ve thought of a killer avocado aioli with a kick. This can complement apps as a dipping sauce or spice up entrees. While there will be additional food and labor costs associated with creating these sauces on the front-end, a little will go a long way if you can customize a selection of dishes with two to three signature sauces.
2) Add a modern twist to classic staples.
Classics are classic for a reason. Menu items like pizzas and hamburgers are restaurant go-tos because they’re crowd pleasers. And from a foodservice operators’ perspective, they’re a safe bet because they sell. But, for adventurous diners, your run-of-the-mill cheeseburger and pepperoni pizza aren’t going to cut it. To pique their interest, add unexpected pizza toppings, mix sweet with savory, sub veggies where they’re least expected or incorporate those special sauces we mentioned above. You can experiment with these creative options by offering them as specials and if they’re a hit, consider making them regular menu items. This gives you the freedom to experiment with menu tweaks, without incurring excessive food costs.
3) Offer globally-inspired options.
Globalization has influenced every industry, and foodservice is no exception. Since access to new ingredients is easier than ever before, diverse culinary offerings are becoming increasingly available. Because of this, adventurous consumers have come to expect ethnic offerings. From Shakshouka for breakfast to Thai-rolled ice cream for dessert, they’re eager to experience exotic culinary cultures through bold, flavor-rich sauces and spices. As you consider adding ethnic options to your menu, however, use an economical approach. Pay attention to what’s trending, and think about what can be easily adapted to your menu. For example, see if you can incorporate global condiments like sauces and spices to give traditional menu items ethnic flare.
4) Serve a sampling of “small plates.”
As they say, variety is the spice of life. Small plates enable adventurous eaters to satisfy their curious palates since they can sample a variety of flavors without settling on just one option. However, you may wonder how to feasibly offer an array of small plates while keeping your operations streamlined. To do this, don’t be too literal when you think of “small plates.” Instead, consider offering shared plates or miniature versions (hello street tacos!) of already-popular entrees. By using these alternative small plate approaches, you can offer diners more options, without it being too labor-intensive. And, you’re not rolling the dice with uncharted territory; you’re offering bite-sized versions of best-selling menu staples, while allowing diners to try more. Win-win!
Stay efficient with the right equipment.
No matter how diverse your menu gets, it’s important to have versatile equipment so you can keep your operations efficient. At Ovention, we’re committed to providing cooking solutions that streamline your cooking efforts, no matter your menu offering. For example, check out our innovative Double MiLO® oven to see how it can support your unique menu needs and keep adventurous customers coming!