WHY SEASONAL MENU PLANNING?
In-season produce = lower costs. Leverage these cost savings for other initiatives, improve profit margins, and offer competitive pricing to customers.
Keep it Fresh:
Take advantage of fresh seasonal flavors to enhance the dining experience and empower staff to experiment with new menu items. Seasonal produce in vegetarian, flexitarian, or vegan options can help you attract a wider range of dietary needs.
Create hype, attract new customers, and encourage patrons to return with limited-time offers and special items that highlight seasonal produce.
Eco-Friendly And Community-Oriented Values:
Reduce your carbon footprint by shortening delivery routes from across the sea to down the street. Support the farmers who live and work in your community.
HOW TO MANAGE SEASONAL INGREDIENTS
Seasonal menu planning requires a bit of thought, but it’s all worth it in the end.
Your local suppliers are more like long-term partners — they’ll give you expertise, consistent deliveries, and ideas on maximizing their produce. If your business relies more on distributors, befriend your sales reps, and be sure to ask them for lists of seasonal ingredients.
Establishing regular communication will keep you informed about availability and pricing, and ensures suppliers and distributors are in the loop about changing inventory. If you can, visit them at their farm or office and personalize your interactions with them. The more you nourish your relationship with them, the more benefits you’ll both reap.
KEEP YOUR FRESH PRODUCE FRESH
Maximize the shelf life of seasonal ingredients with the proper techniques. You can extend the life of foods from 1-2 months to 6-12 months by ensuring optimal cold storage temperatures and humidity levels³.
And try preservation methods like canning, pickling, freezing, or drying to extend the life of your ingredients past peak season.
BE TRUE TO YOU
Consider integrating seasonal ingredients as a side to top-sellers or testing the waters with limited-time offers or menu items. See how people like them, make a note, and next year, bring it back — customers will look forward to it.
While the word “seasonal” practically sells itself, here are ways to make it even more enticing to customers.
LET YOUR MENU TELL A STORY
Highlight your suppliers’ names and how ingredients were grown. Share personal stories, the process of creating new dishes, and the importance of sustainable foods. Pepper your menu with words like “locally sourced,” “organically raised,” “biodynamic,” and “certified organic.”
GET YOUR REGULARS INVOLVED
Regular customers are great at helping verify your menus. Whether a formal gathering or an off-the-cuff share, let them try new seasonal dishes and ask for their feedback. If you get them excited, they’ll be happy to share the news with their friends.
GET THE WORD OUT
Great new dishes need PR too — get the word out on social media, through your staff, and on your menu. Get patrons excited with a newsletter and update your Google Business Profile. Host special events about the flavors of the season, and partner with local breweries and wineries to pair with your dishes.
Leverage seasonal menus to open up new opportunities for your business and your customers by thinking local and reaching new heights.