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Now's the right time

Now is the right time for chefs to try out new menu ideas and create new dishes around seasonal produce according to the 2015 Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast.

Restaurants, pubs and hotels are being urged to make the most of quality UK-grown produce and low food inflation to trial new ideas.

“Inflation is at a historically low level and as we move from spring into summer the availability of UK meat, seafood and fresh fruit and veg is generally very good, quality is high, and value for money is excellent” says John Pinder, Lynx managing director.

There is no suggestion that operators drop their best sellers, but consider speaking to suppliers about which produce is best value. Using specials boards and dish-of-the day promotions are also ideas to try.

Barbecue Boom 

When creating a new menu Lynx recommend operators work with suppliers to identify good value cuts of beef and pork suitable for the increasingly popular barbecue, smokehouse and slow-cooked dishes.

Rib-eye steak prices are set to remain particularly high as peak barbecue season approaches. Sirloin is now less common on branded pub and restaurant menus, offering a better value option for independents.

Sustainable fishing 

Instead of relying on popular fish species such as cod and haddock, try ‘catch of the day’ specials using sustainably caught fish from British waters, such as hake, Pollock, bream and lemon sole.

Vegetable options

Seasonal British vegetables are a great menu accompaniment, with British cauliflower crop forecast to be plentiful, ensuring low prices throughout summer. British cabbages and courgettes are also predicted to remain good value once home-grown supplies are available.

Salad options such as watercress are forecast to be both good quality and price, alongside UK-grown rocket and red chard.

Changing your menu - Change your tableware

When changing your menus, think about the tableware you’re using too. You don’t need to invest in all new, but consider selecting a number of innovation pieces for your new dishes. Try your ‘catch of the day’ fish dish on something that really stands out, or put your vegetables into a small casserole with a lid - the possibilities are endless.

In a survey commissioned by Steelite International and carried out by One Poll research specialist, results showed that 81% of diners identifies that presentation of tableware played an important or very important factor when choosing where to eat out.  61% of dinners also said that a well-presented table positively impacts their dining experience. 

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