Ed note: This is a guest post from our riends over at Rich Sauces, purveyors of delicious…sauces! Here, Tim is shows us why it’s important to purchase and serve quality food, even when (especially when) everyone else is snapping up the cheapest possible options. Take it away, Tim!
As you are reading this on the Honest Coffees blog you are obviously focused on quality when it comes to selecting the ingredients you use in your professional kitchen. Coffee is no longer viewed as a commodity; rather as a unique selling point for your food service business to show your customers how quality focused you are. Now that you are using a great coffee I want to look at 5 other catering food supplies you should NOT consider as a commodity but as a potential Unique Selling Point.
1, Target The Tea
Sorry Wyatt + Grace but it is the alternative hot drink to your great coffee. Tea has taken a back seat somewhat in the last number of years in the hot beverage category with the attention being more on great coffee. So focusing on a quality branded tea is a real USP for you to appeal to the non java junkies out there.
From Yorkshire Tea up North to the flavoursome range of Dorset Tea in the south and any amount of independent tea companies in between choosing a great brand will be significant for your customers.
Suki Tea make some great loose leaf teas on offer but it is the extra touches of branding set them apart. The bamboo tea board and teapots bring back the theatre and ritual of making and serving tea. Embracing loose leaves and a good brand is great but more importantly bringing back the service and ritual of tea is a great menu design ideas sure to please your customers and set your food service business apart.
2, No More Mediocre Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise is such an annoyance for me that this point takes two parts
Exhibit A, As you can see in the video above no one likes tasting highly vinegary, and salty mayonnaise. That type of mayonnaise is great if you are going Dutch with your frites and mayo, but do you really want to taste vinegar when eating chicken & avocado on wholemeal? . Mayonnaise like your wholesale sauces should be used to accentuate the taste of your core ingredients, NOT over power them with vinegar. Mayonnaise should be used to enhance the food it touches not hide it.
Exhibit B, Use a mayonnaise and wholesale sauces made with UK Rapeseed oil as it has a lot of health benefits. Consumer are increasingly aware of how good Rapeseed Oil is for their health as it is high in omega 3 and omega 6. So add this to your café menu ideas and let them know mayonnaise is no longer a commodity in your kitchen.
Click here to take the MAYO Challenge
3, Cut Down On Cheap Chips
Besides coffee, chips are the most profitable item on your menu. It is also the first side dish to be ordered so you really should give your customers something to remember. Yes I appreciate this is extra work, and yes I appreciate it takes a lot more time than buying in ready to fry chips but focusing on good local spuds and hand cutting them creates the freshly prepared feel your customers will really appreciate. There are a lot of catering food supplies you can buy in ready prepped but a freshly prepared chip is a real opportunity to show your customers the unique quality coming from your kitchen.
4, Beautiful Bread
The UK is blessed with some amazing bakeries and that is thanks to some great basic baking ingredients. With the prevalence of so many good bakeries this is one catering food supplies I would be happy to buy in. Bread served with a starter, a soup or used in your sandwiches is such a dominant part of your food that it is imperative to get it right. Looking to use sourdoughs, rye breads or even good gluten free breads all can inspire menu design ideas sure to please your customers.
5, What About Water?
Is it just me that wonders why we are always sold water rather than given it free? Depending on the quality of your local supply serving super chilled water in a nice bottle with ice and sides of lemon or lime gives your customer something for free which costs your business the price of a few lemons slices. Now I fully accept if your water supply is rich in minerals you will be best not to offer any but I always like the choice of an up sell to bottled water rather than it simply being forced on me. This also then gives you the chance to highlight a local or premium water brand to again reinforce how you have considered ever last item that your customers will be consuming.
So there you have it 5 items that are often considered as a commodity within the food industry but could be easily improved or used as a feature to demonstrate the quality of your food service business.
After all it’s the little things that count.
If you have any other examples of ingredient crimes as perpetrated in the food service trade we would love for you to share them below. Or if you have any comments please join the conversation below.
Originally from Belfast in Ireland Tim has worked in various food business in USA, UK prior to returning to his family business www.richsauces.com in Belfast in 2008. Tim is a keen foodie, cyclist and java junkie.