A blog post from Restaurant Hospitality magazine last Monday explored consumers’ desire to want what they cannot have: access to exclusive clubs, tables at restaurants with lengthy waiting lists, limited edition products, etc. When supply doesn’t meet demand, those who demand will pay more for access to the supply.
Every restaurant wants a menu item to get this kind of attention!
So, create it!
Limited-supply menu items can be “available” at any price point; there’s no need to go way above what your demographic is willing to pay. Get creative and do some market testing within your own restaurant to see what creates buzz. It can be a simple food idea or an entire concept.
- Small-batch, chef-created ice creams to polish off summertime meals? Invest in a 4-qt Hamilton Beach Ice Cream Maker and invent a new flavor every day — one batch only!
- Keep some rich Belgian chocolate on hand and dip only the very best fresh fruit from the day’s market, pair it with espresso for dessert and then package the limited-quantity pairing as a special service for the whole table.
- One day a week, during a short window, offer afternoon tea for moms (or dads) and kids with lovely but durable Tea Rose tea service. Allow only a few sittings. Serve some small eats that are easy to prep (got leftover ingredients?) and suddenly, it’s an exclusive event!
As pickled and preserved homegrown-foods continue to grow in popularity, it’s only natural that beverages with similar flavor profiles and origins would become more popular, too.
We recently highlighted shrub cocktails, the pre-colonial era, vinegar-based mixers and mixed drinks that are bubbling under the trend radar, but they’re not the only sour offering available at the bar. Sour beer recipes originating from 18th century Europe (and earlier) have a growing fan base among trend-driving craft beer aficionados all across America.
“Sour” beers aren’t necessarily sour in flavor. They’re tart, fruity, and crisp, made so by bacteria added after the fermenting process. Before modern, sterile food processing became the norm, wild yeast and bacteria were just part of the beer brewing process. Today, most brewers who create sour beer add select souring agents in a fairly controlled fashion, but there are some who stick with tradition, allowing natural bacteria and yeast to work their unpredictable magic.
The dog days of summer are near, get to know what sour beers are available from your local craft brewers and lock in a selection for your own beer menu. Their crisp flavors, effervescence, and traditionally low alcohol by volume are ideal for craft beer aficionados who like to while away hot summer days at their favorite watering hole. Pilsner glasses suffice for serving sour beers, but flutes can highlight their coolness and carbonation, and snifters can intensify their aromas.
Peanut Butter on Toast No. 3
5″ x 7″, oil on board
by Rosemary Lucy Consentino
Publications from San Francisco to London have called it so it must be true: the next big thing is toast. Artisanal toast. Since it’s selling at $3 to $4 per slice, it might just be the next big thing to boost your profit margin.
Think of toast as a vehicle for other delicious things and the possibilities become endless. Slice it Texas-sized or extra-thin and top it with freshly-churned butter, grandma’s homemade preserves, local honey, soft cheese and savory herbs. Cinnamon and sugar. Nutella.
Italy has been doing bruschetta and crostini topped with everything from tomatoes to prosciutto for thousands of years.
Of course, there’s an endless variety of breads for toasting! Basic white bread. Sprouted bread. Whole grain bread. Sweet cake-like breads. Breakfast breads with dried fruit already baked in. Toast is an American comfort food in its simplest form and it fits current consumer passions for handcrafted and highly-nutritious eats. Plus it’s portable and easy for snacking.
As a hip new menu item, toast has gotten a lot of criticism but, in reality, toast fits into every time of day and goes with everything from espresso to dinner. It’s easy to make and an easy investment. Even the smallest food service business can find the budget and counter space for a vertical toaster or toaster oven. When every guest acknowledges the greatness of toast, upgrade to a conveyor toaster that can toast dozens of slices in no time at all.