When restaurant chains make changes to their menus, it makes national news. Whether it’s McDonalds dropping Chicken Selects or the Olive Garden doing an overhaul, there seems to be an article announcing such changes every day. The publicity they get is likely good for business, but the real reason for these changes is to stay competitive.
You may not make national news, but keeping your menu fresh can help you edge out the competition.
Stay on top of current trends
What’s hot in catering kitchens across the country? We recently posted an article on our social media pages about Catering trends for 2013. While fruit and vegetable dust may not be right for your market, maybe it’s time to add a quinoa or polenta dish. You know best what your customers like and what your competition is doing, so make changes and additions that are right for your business.
What dishes are getting hundreds of repins on Pinterest? If you’re not on Pinterest, you should consider joining. It’s a great place for caterers to not only show off their menu items, but also find new recipes. Feel free to repin some of the recipes we’ve collected and organized. We currently have more than 20 boards with over a thousand recipes on our Pinterest page.
Play up local favorites
What foods are unique to your area? Every town (no matter how small) has dishes, sauces, and even condiments that the locals know and love. For example, in Rochester we even have our own vernacular. We call hotdogs “hots” and they come in red and white. “Hot sauce” isn’t necessarily spicy, it’s a meat sauce that people like to put on their hots. Be sure to represent your local culture your menu.
Even the big guys do it. An article we recently posted on our social pages covered McDonalds menu items from around the world. And don’t be afraid to borrow from other areas. Favorites from other places might be a hit with your local market. Check out foods worth traveling for from The Daily Meal.
There’s plenty of advice to go around when it comes to building a menu that will keep customers interested; everything from using research to including the strange. The best advice is to make changes that will keep your customers engaged and ordering and give you a competitive edge.