The Pros and Cons of Seasonal Menus

Whether you’re adding pumpkin to dishes in the fall or introducing barbecue flavors during summer, a new season offers the perfect opportunity to spice up your menu.

Not only can seasonal menu items attract customers, they may also provide a boost to your business. As you prepare your restaurant for the changing seasons, here are some important things to keep in mind when crafting seasonal menus.

Pros

  • Spike in sales. Customers love sampling dishes that align with the seasons. Grubhub’s data found that in the fall of 2016, sales for pumpkin-related items jumped 17% while crispy brussel sprout sales climbed more than 85%.
  • Chance to experiment. Updating your menu items with the seasons gives you the opportunity to get creative and test out new dishes. Plus, if you come across something customers really love you can be sure to keep them coming back year after year.
  • Lower costs. Some seasonal foods may be less expensive depending on the season and your location. Stick with seasonal ingredients to cut inventory costs. Picking up fresh fruits and vegetables can help save you money and enhance the quality of your dishes.
  • Employee development. Incorporate seasonal dishes to help your back-of-house staff build new skills and experiences. The more diverse your menu, the more prepared your employees will be to handle upcoming changes.
  • Support your local economy. Start or increase your use of local farms and suppliers by checking out which seasonal ingredients you can source locally. And don’t be shy about marketing your use local produce or meat for seasonal dishes, it may help attract customers who also love supporting local businesses.

Cons

  • Tough cuts. Since the best menus are short and sweet, adding seasonal dishes may require swapping out other items. To make this easier, try substituting less popular dishes with seasonal items or put a seasonal spin on old classics.
  • More marketing. In addition to crafting seasonal dishes, you’ll need to spend additional time and effort building awareness among potential customers. Don’t forget to plan ahead for the marketing initiatives that will accompany seasonal menu changes.

Most importantly, make sure you keep the customer experience consistent — especially if you have multiple locations or support delivery and takeout options. Adding seasonal dishes or adjusting a recipe to include seasonal ingredients means you’ll have to apply menu changes across all locations and platforms.

Ready to entice customers with new seasonal options? It’s easy to add and remove seasonal items from your Grubhub menu via the self-service platform. Discover how Grubhub for Restaurants can help you manage menu updates at a moment’s notice.

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