Discover new sources for menu inspiration.
The best ideas are often the simplest. That couldn’t be truer than when it comes to planning your menu. Marzetti Foodservice has an extensive Research and Development team, but we know that’s not practical most of the time, especially when an ongoing need for inspiration is necessary to stay ahead in the competitive foodservice landscape.
The good news is you don’t always need a big budget to freshen up your menu. Often the best ideas are right in front of you.
- Turn to your staff. Your employees are likely full of great ideas to spice up the menu. You might be surprised how much insight your own employees have into customers’ tastes and gaps in your menu.
- Follow the industry. Culinary publications like Flavor and the Menu, Plate and Restaurant Hospitality will help you stay up-to-date on flavor trends and ideas. Similar to the fashion industry, trends often start as high-level concepts before becoming mainstream. Publications will help you stay ahead of customers’ ever changing palettes.
- Look to other food industries. You can find inspiration in how industries like beer, wine and spirits are changing flavor profiles in their own products. Brewers and vintners are constantly evolving their products with new flavors that you can incorporate into your own recipes. Applebee’s used insights from the spirits industry to launch its Spirited Cuisine menu.
- Get inspired by the season. Use the seasons to inspire updates to your menu with fresh and light meals in the spring and summer like spring greens with brie toasts and evolving to heartier fare in the winter such as lasagna rollups with vegetable sauce. It’s a simple change, but it will keep your menu exciting with new surprises every season.
- Be health conscious. Consumers and government organizations are becoming more sensitive to diets. Follow health trends and experiment with new food to see how they can be incorporated into your menu. Panera, Applebee’s and Chili’s are just a few examples of restaurants that have launched lighter menu items to help customers keep their 2013 resolutions.
- Play with what you have. Don’t hesitate to experiment and repurpose the ingredients you already have to create a variety of new dishes. Some will be great. Others won’t. But you won’t know if you don’t try. Marzetti Original Slaw Dressing can be used to make a decadent gingerbread cake with lemon cream cheese sauce or as a substitute for mayo in this twist on a tuna sandwich. Experiment, and don’t be afraid to invite some of your best customers and most passionate employees to put new creations to the test.
A little research can go a long way toward being viewed by your customers as in-tune with their needs and current trends.
Marzetti Foodservice is here to help. Our culinary team is constantly creating new flavor inspirations. You can even search our recipe database for ways to use your already on-hand dressings and sauces to create your next great dish.