Spring is here, and summer is hot on its heels, bringing exciting menu options for restaurant customers—as well as challenges for operators.
Consumers have come to expect seasonal menu updates, frequent menu specials and limited-time offerings from operators across all segments. However, executing such changes may also mean a brand-new learning curve of preparation techniques and ingredients for the kitchen staff, and it can be especially taxing for an operation that has a lean labor budget due to today’s economic realities.
However, taking a speed-scratch approach of mixing fresh, seasonal ingredients into a familiar side creates a distinctive new flavor profile and appearance. Buying vegetables seasonally reduces food costs and keeps menus fresh, as the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based food and restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman said in their 2016 menu trends forecast, noting that veggies are rivaling animal proteins as menu stars today.
Going hand-in-hand with seasonality is the local food movement, which continues to influence the foodservice industry today, according to the National Restaurant Association 2016 What’s Hot Culinary Forecast. Adding some local produce, protein or dairy product to such items as mashed potatoes creates the prized local halo without the complexity of making an entirely local menu.
Looking for a labor-efficient way to celebrate light, flavorful spring and summer eating? Make a batch of black beans with salsa verde. Simply roast tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and onions until charred and tender and pulse them in a blender with oil, vinegar, seasoning and fresh herbs. Combine the mixture with black beans, chill and serve.
This post is sponsored by Basic American Foods