Introducing the Food Fanatics Winter 2017-18 Issue
Some of the greatest chefs in the world impart the simplest advice: Less is more. Take away an ingredient instead of piling on more to make a dish sing.
Such advice boils down to this: the importance of the basics. In the latest issue of Food Fanatics, inspiration for menu planning and improving everyday operations can be found by taking stock of the basics in the front and back of the house.
Consider the common bird. Chicken can be pedestrian and a big so-what but chefs are proving that it can be a star just by using the highest quality poultry, like the heritage birds at Le Coq Rico in New York City. Chefs are also adding excitement by brining chicken with herbs and aromatics to ensure moistness and to provide a foundation for building flavors like at Mourad in San Francisco.
Hot chocolate is an all-time basic favorite, beloved by kids and grownups. So why does it appear only on 17 percent of menus? Truth is, the drink can be your secret weapon to increasing sales this season, especially spiked or fortified with herbs.
The renaming and rebranding of pork and beef cuts will also bring you back to the basics. Baseball cut steak (top round) and pork porterhouse—cuts that have always existed—are trending, and according to chefs, creating menu intrigue. Best yet, these underutilized cuts usually come with lower food costs, allowing casual restaurants to feature beef at a price point that fits their concept.
The importance of basics also crosses over to the operational side of the business. Examining your hours of operations against sales and labor costs can lead to important decisions about staffing and menu planning.
To dig a little deeper, look at other basic components of the business, such as your website and point of sales system. See if your site could use a refresh or if you’re truly maximizing your POS features. It can be so much more than a cash register.
Then share your insights with us @FoodFanatics. Join our community and reacquaint yourself with the basics.