The Restaurant Thanksgiving Menu: Better to Keep It Traditional or Try Non-Traditional Foods?
Each year more and more restaurants decide to stay open for the holidays, either opening the doors to their seating area or offering catering services. This idea is growing in popularity as it allows customers to use the holidays to spend time with their families instead of preparing their meals. But some restaurants come across a problem when they begin to plan their holiday menus. The hardest decision for any restaurant to make is whether they should stick to the traditional food items or try non-traditional foods.. Here are some things to keep in mind when making the decision.
What the Customers Want
The first thing to keep in mind when trying to decide if you should go with a traditional Thanksgiving menu or try something non-traditional is what your customers will want. If your regular customers tend to be very set in their ways, always picking traditional items off your menu and ordering the same thing time after time, it may be a good idea to stick with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner options. If, however, your customers seem more adventurous and always willing to try new things, then it is the perfect opportunity to test out those variations of the classics that you have always wanted to try.
Mix it Up
The good news is that there are not just two options when it comes to selecting the menu; in reality it is possible to have a mix of items. An idea, for example, would be to serve the traditional main course (for Thanksgiving this would be a traditional oven-roasted turkey) with some traditional sides and add some non-traditional items as well. If you want to try something non-traditional but aren’t sure how well your customers will take it, then try something that will only involve a slight variation. For example instead of serving traditional roasted sweet potato wedges, you can put pureed sweet potatoes with a hint of maple syrup on the menu.
Don’t Get Too Creative
One thing to remember, no matter what you choose to do in terms of non-traditional foods is to not go overboard. While most customers will appreciate a bit of creativity when it comes to the holiday menu, not everyone will want a dish that is nothing at all like a normal holiday dinner. The best idea is to always keep the seasonal flavors in every dish and simply add different textures, preparation methods, or a hint of flavor such as spiciness.
Give It Your Personal Touch
Some restaurants would do well to stick to the traditional holiday menus, but depending on what type of restaurant you own, it can be a good idea to give the menu your own personal touch. If, for example, your food is Greek or Italian, try making variations of the traditional dishes and add have some Greek or Italian flavors. You can also try serving some traditional holiday dishes from Greece or Italy in addition to the more traditional American ones. Of course, this is more of a possibility for Christmas than for Thanksgiving, but you could try a typical winter dish in addition to the Thanksgiving stuffing.
Plan Ahead for Time
If you have considered everything mentioned above and are still unsure about whether to serve a traditional menu or a non-traditional one, then consider how much time there will be to prepare the dishes. If there isn’t much time, it may be impossible for your chefs to become familiar with the newer dishes unless they are simple. On the other hand, opting for a new twist on a classic that takes less time to prepare may be worth the extra effort if it will also save time in the long run.
No matter what type of food you decide to serve at your restaurant for the holidays, it is important that you let your customers know. The worst possible thing would be if you choose to serve a menu with non-traditional foods added to the classics but a customer doesn’t realize it and gets upset. The number one goal of any restaurant is to satisfy the customer and the best way to do this, especially when it comes to holiday meals, is to make sure that they know what type of food will be served before they make their reservation.