Dear Surgery: Healthy eating is everywhere at the moment, but the big seller on my menu is steak and chips. How can I make it a popular option with customers who are watching what they eat?
The Surgery says:
Menu descriptions and colourful photography are essential marketing tools. By making meal options look and sound appealing, the challenge of attracting a wider audience is half done. Menu descriptions determine the customer's perception. To appeal to health conscious consumers, consider using reassuring phrasing such as "five-aday", "griddled" steak and "unseasoned" fries. A varied selection of accompaniments is the key to satisfying all your customers and will persuade even the strictest dieter to take the steak option, giving caterers the opportunity to upsell and increase their profit margins. A menu with both
saintly and sinful combinations is an easy way of allowing customers to decide their meal type for themselves. Jacket potatoes, salad and vegetables can all be offered as alternatives to chips and onion rings. Also make simple changes in the meal preparation: ensure the fryer oil is clean and at the correct temperature; purchase lean cuts of beef or trim off excess fat to cut down the fat content; griddle or grill the steak without oil; offer sauces as an extra instead of smothering the meat in a creamy sauce. Chunky chips are a better option than julienne or crinkle-cut varieties as they absorb less oil, making a healthier option. Don't season accompaniments such as chips as a matter of course - allow the consumer to do this to their taste. These simple changes will reassure customers and boost sales.
Ben Woodhouse, catering development controller, 3663