How to Drive Sales with Cold-Weather Menu Changes
As much as American love summer, autumn has an equally loyal following. In recent years, the annual countdown until “pumpkin spice” season has become a national obsession.
Cooler weather signifies change, making it the perfect time to introduce new menu items and limited-time offers (LTOs). Soups make an excellent addition to almost any fall menu lineup. Not only do they complement salads and sandwiches, heartier versions can be enjoyed as entrees on their own.
“It’s ingrained in our society that come fall and football season, people think about soups, chilis, tailgating, and the holidays—it’s part of Americana,” says Bob Sewall, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Blount Fine Foods. “It’s time to optimize LTOs for the holiday season, expand menus, and keep customers happy.”
One way operators can do that is by offering cleaner, healthier menu choices. “One of the biggest trends out there is more vegan and plant-forward options,” says Sewall. Fall soups like butternut bisque, mushroom barley, sweet potato and corn chowder, tomato-zucchini, and hearty vegetable provide much-appreciated options for herbivores—and if they’re delicious enough, meat lovers will enjoy them, too.
Along with providing customers with healthy options, vegetable-based soups can help operators capitalize on the holiday season. In today’s diverse families, you may have a vegan seated next to a hunter at the Thanksgiving table, so it’s important to offer options.
“It used to be that certain vegetables like pumpkin and butternut squash were only available during the fall and winter season,” Sewall says. “Even though it isn’t that way anymore, these offerings still lend themselves to LTOs and allow operators to expand the menu and offer people different things.”
Blount Fine Foods makes it easy for operators to experiment with new flavors. Its line of soups and starters come in a wide range of inspired varieties that taste as fresh as if made in your own kitchen. Sourcing ingredients and preparing soups of such high quality would require hours of kitchen labor, but operators can save time and money by letting Blount do what it does best—produce wholesome, clean label products that can be shipped ready-to-heat to a restaurant’s door.
In addition to dozens of traditional soups, Blount also offers a full line of organic options that appeal to health and environmentally-conscious diners. Options like ancient grain minestrone, lentil and chickpea soup, and vegetarian chili use lesser-known, highly nutritious ingredients. All soups in Blount’s organic line are made with non-GMO ingredients, which can be another attractive selling point.
Blount is also in tune with other trends, like ethnic and regional twists on American favorites. Think Peruvian-style chicken soup, pasta e fagioli, Charleston she-crab soup, and Rhode Island clear clam chowder. The company can also partner with restaurants to create custom recipes specifically for their establishment. Whether standard or signature recipe, all products are guaranteed not to have shrink.
Sewall suggest operators feature soups on daily special boards, and have servers taste the product so they can offer insight. “Food is more fashionable than ever, especially with the popularity of television cooking shows,” he says. “If you’re not doing these things, your customers are going to notice.”