As restaurant-goers become more educated, curious, and empowered, they’re asking for more. Health-conscious eaters want their fruit and veggie count high. Some people have allergies, food restrictions, and dietary needs. Some guests simply want to be more adventurous. These new demands now push restaurants to anticipate their customers’ needs. This can be taken with a grain of salt and a spirit of fun. Who doesn’t appreciate a well-timed pumpkin spice trend?
Changing It Up
You can be flexible from the start with a build-your-own salad, burger, or omelet option right on the menu. Why not allow sides to be healthier too with the option for fries or cous-cous, or the choice of a lettuce or flour wrap?
Regionality may be important to consider as well. Someone from North Carolina may want BBQ and someone from New England creamy clam chowder. When you notice a trend among guests or in culture, think about adapting.
Managing Food Allergies
The eight major food allergens are: shellfish, wheat, eggs, peanuts, milk, tree nuts, fish, and soy. Allergies are becoming more common and requests at restaurants to manage them are on the rise. It’s profitable to do. According to Evok, when P.F. Changs introduced a complete gluten-free menu they saw a 140% jump in gluten-free sales.
If your kitchen is allergy-friendly talk about it on your website. For obvious reasons, these folks heavily research restaurants before venturing out. Search engine optimization will get you seen, noticed, and your table booked.
Your kitchen should understand the nuances of preventing cross-contamination. Your menu can also clearly define which dishes are safe to order based on allergies or special diets from raw to vegetarian and gluten-free. Listing nutritional information is also a great help for anyone trying to simply eat healthier or to lose weight.
The Big Three Alternative Diets
Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free eating are the trio gaining prominence. The basis for the vegetarian diet is fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains with no meat or fish. Veganism is a stricter form of vegetarianism. Vegans exclude dairy, honey, and eggs as well. This is part of the reason we’re all seeing almond, oat and soy milk.
Many people deal with Celiac and Crohn’s issues. They can’t process the gluten protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. This means no pasta, bread, pie, or cake. You can offer them breads and desserts made with gluten-free flour. Creating simple gluten-free swaps, for instance spaghetti squash for flour-based pasta is another way to help. People with these issues like being seen and supported. Doing it right means thinking outside the over-used vegan bean patty.
At the end of the day, you likely want everyone to feel at home at your restaurant. Helping people with genuine physical issues related to food or honoring different personal food choices makes you a host who offers true hospitality.
As you think about hospitality, please let us know if we can ever help you diversify your space with a durable, attractive patio enclosure. A comfortable outdoor eating area allows your guests the choice of outside or inside dining. We make it simple for everyone. Most patio enclosures are easy to install with how-to videos and written instructions. You can also call us with any installation questions during business hours. Or we’ll send pros to do it for you if you like. Here’s to making guests happy and pass the oat milk for our coffee, please.