According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry makes around 1.7 billion on a typical day. Americans spend over $2,000 a year dining away from home and 66 percent of those diners are looking for a culinary experience they can’t easily replicate in their own kitchen. As a restaurant owner, you know how important it is to provide your patrons with creative cuisine alongside tried and true favorites. This keeps your customers happy and increases your sales. If your menu is stuck in a food rut, contact AmeriMerchant to help you expand your restaurant and use these ideas to expand your menu:
- Hypoallergenic food: As more and more people are diagnosed with Celiac Disease and gluten allergies, it’s important to be sensitive to your patrons’ dietary needs. Your wait staff should be well versed in which foods items on the menu contain nuts, eggs, dairy, and gluten. It’s a smart idea to add a hypoallergenic section to the menu and offer food that is chemical, dairy, gluten, and nut free. It’s also a good idea to designate separate cookware to hypoallergenic foods thus reducing the risk of cross contamination.
- Smart food: Many restaurants are packing in the customers by packing extra nutrients into their food. Adding acai (a Brazilian super fruit) or Kefir, a yogurt based drink, to smoothies is one way to blend in with the antioxidant crowd. Your restaurant can also offer salads topped with pomegranate seeds (known as arils), blueberries, or unsalted pumpkin seeds—all nutrient dense super foods.
- Molecular gastronomy: Adding high-tech flourishes to your menu is as easy as buying a whipped cream canister. Fruit juice with lecithin is stored inside nitrogen-charged canisters and squirted out as foam—perfect for adding a hint of fruit garnish to a chocolate mousse. Molecular gastronomy kits can also be purchased online, offering everything from edible film disks and sealers, to popping sugar and carrageenan. These products enable your chef to make caviar-like pearls of hot sauce, oil, fruit, vinegar, and more that burst in your mouth through a process called “spherification.”
- South East flavors: Flavors from Thailand, Indonesia, Burma, and Vietnam are all popping up in plates all over America. Coconut milk, sweet chili sauce, and lemongrass are the predominant ingredients to come out of South East Asia. Your chef can offer a Thai based soup special or signature Asian noodle dish to keep adventurous eaters happy.
- Custom coffee: Single serve coffee eliminates the need for a barista in your restaurant. Diners also like being served in a French press cafetiere—your wait staff can pour boiling water over the coffee grounds and bring the press tableside. This allows customers to steep their own coffee and add as much cream and sugar as they want. Another great idea is to add house-made flavored milks to your menu—your patrons will love adding hazelnut steeped cream or Mexican hot chocolate flavored milk to their cup of coffee.
- Signature desserts: In many restaurants the dessert menu is sorely overlooked and lacking in fresh ideas and originality. Your restaurant should offer exciting desserts such as house made ice cream with unique flavors (cereal flavored ice cream is a big trend right now.) Another trend is offering fresh baked cookies at the end of the meal. Like a soufflé, the cookies are ordered during the entrée and brought to the table with a large glass of milk. Wrap up any extra cookies in a recyclable box with your restaurant logo stamped on the outside. This gives guests a sweet reminder of your great food and provides them with your contact information.
- Tiny desserts: Another fun dessert trend is to offer patrons scaled down versions of their favorite desserts. Instead of a slice of key lime pie, layer graham crackers, key lime curd, and whipped cream in a large shot glass and top with flambéed meringue. Miniature desserts make it easy for guests to try unusual flavors (think mango and ginger) in a non-committal way. Smaller desserts equal smaller portions—your guests will see it as a lower calorie, inexpensive treat and often order more than one bite size dessert. It’s a fun and cheap way to increase sales and give your guests a fun and original mini-splurge.
Adding these elements to your menu is as easy as contacting AmeriMerchant. AmeriMerchant has over 10 years of experience providing cash advances to small business owners. If you’re looking for small business funding for your restaurant or working capital solutions then call AmeriMerchant at 1-800-267-3790 (East Coast) or 1-877-279-7199 (West Coast). AmeriMerchant is happy to help your restaurant take a bite out of a billion dollar plus industry. Visit us online at www.AmeriMerchant.com.