Seasonal menus are among the most enduring restaurant trends of recent years. From Starbucks’ Gingerbread Latte and Greggs’ festive pasty, to Porky’s Thanksgiving Menu and Costa’s summer Ice Menu, restaurant operations everywhere are cashing in on the demand for seasonal menus.
Away from the big chains and household high street brands, fine restaurants often boast seasonal menus, but how does their success differ from Pret’s infamous Christmas sandwich?
For restaurant operators, the key to cashing in on seasonal menus is being on trend. This doesn’t mean knowing what hashtag is trending on twitter at any given moment or having a cutting edge restaurant marketing team. As a restaurateur, it’s more important to have a sense of what customers want from your brand, and then leverage public events to get people on board with the brand.
This is what separates a seasonal menu from a campaign. For example, a Mexican chain can proclaim that it is Taco Week 2015, but unless Taco Week is a national event, this just another marketing promo.
Put simply, seasonal menus don’t have to be about seasons: but they do have to chime into commonly experienced events. Here are two great examples of this kind of success with seasonal menus.
Tapping into the Seasonal Spirit
World Cups always mark an explosion of burger sales. Byron Hamburgers tapped into this national culinary compulsion with great success last summer, during the 2014 World Cup. They offered customers The Ronaldo burger: 12oz of beef, crispy bacon, onions, pickles and American cheese.
The reason this menu addition succeeded was its clever marketing conception. Everything about it was well chosen. Firstly, Ronaldo is a player whose heyday was the early ‘00s. Byron is fast-casual diner, and this type of restaurant operation is favoured by the Millennials slowly infiltrating the workforce. This young-professional demographic that supplies many of Byron’s sales will have been the perfect age to idolise Ronaldo in his prime.
This same demographic also love the tongue-in-cheek humour present in naming this new, whopping, double-patty burger is named after a player known for being somewhat overweight. Byron successfully identified a global event their demographic engages with and syphoned off some of this hype by dressing the new product in the values and experiences of their core market demographic.
Of course, in the world of fine dining, seasonal menus are far from periodic marketing ploys. Seasonal is becoming the norm as executive chefs tailor their menus around what’s in season. There are obvious benefits to this of course.
Seasonal produce is cheaper. It doesn’t have to be flown in from South Africa. But that’s just the start of it. As more and more restaurants boast their own gardens, or even their own farms, many costs can be avoided: long distance transport, storage and even the cost of the raw ingredients themselves as they merely need to be plucked from the ground or slaughtered.
Secondly, as we have written previously, diners increasingly care about their food being locally sourced – even above it being healthy. Keeping menus seasonal caters to this demand by sourcing ingredients from what’s in season in the area at the time.
Finally, inspiration for a tasting menu or new range of starters has to come from somewhere. The constant rotation of ingredients being in season locally is a handy touchstone for chefs to narrow down and hone in on their next menu.
Succeeding with seasonal menus is just one of a range of restaurant trends that can secure success for your restaurant operation. At Restaurant Property, our London property experts are always looking for successful restaurant operators to work in a range of prime London locations.
To find the venue of your next successful restaurant, get in touch today at 020 3666 2201 or email firstname.lastname@example.org< Back