Fresh produce supplier Bidfresh has said that festive menus built around fresh and local food will inspire post-lockdown customers to eat out in the run-up to the peak Christmas and New Year trading period.
Based on consumer research, Bidfresh is advising chefs and operators that meals with genuine provenance will have the strongest appeal, with the added advantage of making the most of availability.
Martin Eshelby, development support chef with Bidfresh's specialist fresh produce supplier, Oliver Kay said: "Consumers are still in cautious mode following lockdown, and most say they plan to stay close to home, support local businesses, and meet up with friends and family. That creates opportunities for restaurants and pubs to offer interesting dishes with a focus on fresh produce and the best British ingredients.
"Festive menus can be fairly rigid but building in some flexibility will be a real competitive advantage this year. That could mean offering roast duck or partridge as well as the more familiar turkey; having smoked mackerel or trout as a starter, or serving premium twists on accompaniments, such as a sprout slaw or roasted sweet potatoes."
The research also found that 15% of festive diners will hold off on booking until December – favouring businesses that can keep menu options and table availability flexible; 33% of consumers say they'll expect a higher quality of food when eating out than pre-pandemic; and 21% want something new and interesting to try.
Eshelby added "It is very possible to meet what can seem like conflicting consumer expectations. A traditional Christmas dinner may not just mean turkey – in fact, 32% of consumers say they want a choice of different roast meat, and poultry such as duck or partridge can add a "wow factor" as consumers are less likely to cook them at home.
"25% of those surveyed want to see unique starters on menus, and 23% want desserts they wouldn't make at home. Offering alternative choices alongside the familiar smoked salmon and Christmas pud will have strong customer appeal, as well as helping to 'spread the load' for the supply chain."
Bidfresh is highlighting the menu planning benefits of working closely with all three of its specialist businesses: meat supplier Campbell Brothers, Direct Seafoods, and fresh produce experts Oliver Kay.
For a twist on a festive roast, a new recipe for spiced roast duck has been added to the range of menu ideas on the Oliver Kay website: click here to view
You need to create an account to read this article. It's free and only requires a few basic details.
Already subscribed? Log In