There are many ingredients on your menu that you have no choice but to get and offer fresh. You’re most likely brewing fresh coffee every day, but hopefully it doesn’t stop there. The influential burger chain Shake Shack has been known for their all-fresh ingredients for years, outside of their french fries. Recently, they have decided to introduce fresh-cut and fried French Fries, hoping they’ll be a major success for the brand.
You may want to look at your kitchen and inventory, and see what is fresh and what isn’t. If you’re having store-bought or ordered veggies, meat, poultry, and more, you may want to see if there’s a local produce stand you can source. In many cases, the cost of using fresh ingredients might be notable, but the response and marketing that can come from fresh ingredients might just work for it.
Reasons To Go Fresh
- Going fresh in many cases would increase your presence and notoriety in the community. For example, if you traditionally get tomatoes from one stand, you can support that stand by stating where they’re from when people ask, and on the same token, the stand could use your restaurant as proof of how quality their product is.
- Consumers will love the fact that their ingredients are fresh. Even if the difference in quality may be negligible in some regards, “fresh ingredients” will always sound better in advertising than “from the truck” or “previously frozen”.
- You may find yourself in a position that you can be competitive with your pricing. Large supermarkets and truck-delivered food may not be in a position where they can adjust prices. Smaller shops, farmers, and more may be willing to bend the prices, especially if their ingredients will be getting attention on the restaurant stage, and if there’s competition from other sellers. This competition may actually mitigate the cost of going fresh, or even make it cheaper.
- Your chefs may appreciate the chance to use higher-quality ingredients. A true fan of quality cooking will undoubtedly prefer using fresh green beans versus pre-canned.
Concerns Regarding Fresh Food
- While items from a factory and major grocery store might not be as fresh, they’re more likely to have undergone stringent inspections. As fresh as lemonade from a child’s lemonade stand is, you’re more likely to get seeds in it than something a major retailer sells nationwide.
- Cost is always a concern, but you may be spending more in costs than you expect. Sourcing local ingredients, baking fresh bread, and cooking ingredients longer might lead to more man-hour costs than you’d expect.
- Fresh ingredients may require different storage options than non-fresh. Cans may be able to sit on the shelf for months, but the same ingredients not canned may have a shelf life of a few days and require temperature maintenance.
- There’s always the chance that locally-sourced ingredients may be unavailable, temporarily or regularly. If the farmer can’t make it to his stand that day, what will you do without the tomatoes you need for your pizza? Going to the canned kinda will betray consumer trust in your “all-fresh” ingredients.
Going fresh is a possibility for your restaurant. Doing such may increase your sales while increasing your costs. It’s important you look into all the variables before you make the jump.