Tim Doran, client development manager at 3663 First for Foodservice, shares his top tips for developing an effective Christmas menu…
Keep it simple
Reduce your selection to a focused range of items that have strong and wide appeal. Good food consists of simple, quality ingredients that are well put together
Consider local products and provenance
Building your local sourcing credentials is a great way of differentiating your outlet from local competition and enhancing the perceived value of the dish.
It's an easy win to upsell sides if the staff are comfortable with the product and sales pitch - for example garlic bread, breads with oils, olives. Check your team's understanding of how they can do this and offer them examples.
Presentation is key
Your selection of the plate or bowl is as crucial to the look of your dish as the actual food. Make sure that every part of the experience sends out the right message about your outlet.
Your menu is your secret weapon
Menus are essential selling tools and you need to make them work hard for you. Use enticing wording and indicate provenance where possible - eg, "slow-cooked", "Wiltshire ham", "free-range". Pictures can say a thousand words and really do the talking for your food - use them strategically to upsell. Make high-margin items more prominent - show them first, make them stand out using boxes, pictures, or other design tricks.
3663 has carried out extensive customer research on Christmas to determine what is important to caterers, and rated value above all your other needs.
Steve Roberts, licensee at the Oddfellows Arms in Chelmsford is in the process of building his food business and turned to 3663 for help with his Christmas menu - something he feels will set him up well for the festive season.
"I approached my local 3663 sales representative and let him know how much gross profit I wanted to make, and the type of food I was looking at selling. He went away and came back to me with ideas and costings - it was fantastic, he took all the work away from me.
"3663 has developed a three-course pre-costed Christmas menu for me - I can simply defrost and cook pre-orders, and get them out quickly to customers with no waste. What's more I can sell the menu out at £16.50, making a gross profit of 62%."