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Flights of fancy

Tasting menus are popular these days. Very popular. Nearly every white tablecloth restaurant has jumped on the trend, with super-star chefs showcasing their talents and culinary artistry with multi-course meals.Tasting menus are popular these days. Very popular. Nearly every white tablecloth restaurant has jumped on the trend, with super-star chefs like Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller, and Georges Vongerichten (whose seven-course truffle tasting menu costs a mere $220!) showcasing their talents and culinary artistry with multi-course meals.

Wineries and micro-breweries have always sampled their products this way. A "flight" as they call it, is nothing more than a predetermined progression through a category of wine, beer or food.

It's perfect for today's dining experience. People are looking for something new and fresh! Food flights offer the diner an opportunity to try something new without a big risk. And flights work in just about every type of operation with any type of menu.

Here are some food flights that offer a variety of samples of a single type of food:

  • Oysters on the half shell, one in each of six varieties
  • Three different caviars served with the traditional accompaniments
  • Pasta topped with your signature sauces
  • Green, red and yellow Thai or Indian curries

You can put these on your menu as an entrée or an appetizer. But food flights can also be offered as a comp... a very unique selling proposition. How about:

  • House-made chunky salsas served alongside warm yellow, blue and red tortilla chips
  • Warm pretzels with a trio of dipping sauces
  • Bread with a selection of olive oils, balsamic vinegars, or herb-infused butters

And don't forget beverages and desserts:

  • Wines ~ Why choose one Chardonnay when you can taste three?
  • Desserts ~ Luscious cheesecake bites, cool sorbets, rich cheese samplers
  • Coffee ~ Do we really know the difference between French Roast, Kona & Colombian?

Chefs will love the food flights because they can experiment with variations on a theme. And you have a chance to break out of the mold of the standard menu, or a challenge to come up with new ways to prepare standard ingredients. Guests will love food flights because it's fun, adventurous, and not-too-risky.

The marketing opportunities are numerous, too, and so is the potential for adding incremental profit to your bottom line. So get creative and watch your sales take off with your food flights.

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