Ready to add your next menu item? By upgrading a classic offering or adding something new, you can attract new customers and bring excitement to your menu!
One company that expertly crafts new drinks that are innovative as well as visually stunning is 1883 Maison Routin. They have a long history of delivering top-quality syrups and sauces to restaurants and bars all over the world! They even help business owners develop recipes for their menus so we (digitally) sat down with Beverage Innovation Director, Lisa Ash to learn the tricks of the trade.
Where to start?
According to Ash, the first step to creating a new menu item is to evaluate what’s available to you and what would be a logical addition. Here a list of things to consider:
• Equipment: what can be used
• Preparation: skillset and time needed
• Your customers: their preferences and budget
Once you decide to bring something new to your menu, consider timing; when would you reveal the new item? The timing of an item is a large consideration for your patrons – you wouldn’t want to introduce a summery meal in the middle of November.
So it’s best to start thinking about it a few months ahead of time to give you adequate time to develop the recipes and decide how best to execute them.
Ash suggests, “[try] a new item out as a limited-time offering before making it a permanent menu item as this gives you a chance to see how well it sells and get customer and employee feedback.”
You Already Know Flavor
“Flavor combinations are learned as we age,” explained Ash. “We’ve eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs with mustard, chicken and waffles or apple pie with vanilla ice cream and accepted that these divine combinations were due to the genius of our parents, while some glorious combinations may have been the result of a night out with friends and a 3am trashing of the kitchen in search of something edible. This is when we discovered chocolate and hot buttered popcorn is amazing together!”
The Science of Flavor
Foods all contain chemical compounds that make up the aroma and flavor you enjoy. The best combinations are foods that have a similar compound makeup. The more foods you try, the more you can understand what to pair together.
“Experience new flavors and train yourself to identify what makes a drink or dish taste so good. Pay attention to the taste, mouthfeel and aroma,” Ash advises.
Building a New Recipe
The creativity of a new menu item can seem daunting and difficult to attract new customers but focusing on flavors, textures, and colors can bring new life into your food. The plate is your canvas to be creative for a masterpiece; however, it doesn’t need to be from scratch. Playing on established foods can give you the opportunity to grow your menu in a safe way.
Consider some customer favorite foods and drinks; how can you take something already on your menu and put a twist on it to create something new? For example, iced teas; their floral and light notes can play with citrus and fruity to create a new flavor experience – i.e. peach, blueberries, or raspberry teas are simple creations but incredibly popular.
Be sure to look at seasonal pairings. Winter flavors that are warm and earthy pair well together with subtle sweet flavors, like squash and pumpkins, and creamy and soft textures. Look at what grows in similar time periods and play with sweets of summer or fruity spring flavors that can pair with the outside tasting of umami or salty.
“At first, I go basic,” says the Beverage Innovation Director. “I like to test a new flavor in a variety of applications that are common in food service or in a coffee house because these are standard applications that sell.”
Take basic recipes and start adding different flavors. Be sure to taste throughout the process and as you layer!
When you have finally created your new food or drink, she says to write down the recipe, step-by-step instructions, and take a photo of the final product.
These tips should have you on your way to designing the next addition to your menu and have people lining out the door!
Shop 1883 products on LollicupStore.com
To learn more about 1883 Maison Routin, you can visit their website.