Posted by Patrick Maness
Summer cuisine should dance around on your tongue with a cool, refreshing flair. This is the season for berries and other fruits to make frequent appearances on your menu. People are ready to cool off, lounge and eat in the shade. Fortunately, there's a lot you can do to enhance your summer house menu, and these just might be the easiest and most effective strategies.
Seafood for a sea-side vibe
There’s no seafood season per se, but there are seasonal ways to cook fish or serve shellfish. In summer, you want your seafood menu to bring an ocean-side feel to your restaurant. The patio that overlooks the hustle and bustle of a busy city should be transformed into a breezy sandy beach the moment a customer takes a bite. Ceviche, which essentially is a salsa made with shrimp and fish, is a popular and versatile option that fits the bill.
Get creative with drinks
These days, cocktails are all the rage. Mixologists become bar-side celebrities. If you’ve been thinking about jumping on this bandwagon, summer is the time to do it. People are thirstier and open to trying new kinds of drinks.
If you don’t have a liquor license, consider investing in a juicer. You will be able to concoct a variety of drinks using all kinds of herbs, vegetables and fruits. These drinks are popular, delicious and healthy, and they can be paired with meals. If people want a serving of veggies with that half-pound burger, servers can suggest a kale-apple juice to do just that!
There are at least 1,000 ways to make a salad. Rather than suggest a particular kind, we recommend rotating through a few featured salads every two weeks or so. Advertise that you use local and seasonal ingredients in these salads. This will create a sense that you are offering a special item for a limited time, and hence, urgency. It also responds to many people’s desire to eat fresh, local food.
Visit the farmer’s market
Take the time to form a relationship with local producers and people in the stalls at the farmer’s market. You'll have access to some of the freshest ingredients available (they say 90 percent of great cooking is in the ingredients) as well as a great marketing opportunity on your hands. It’s an image you should cultivate in order to attract and retain customers.
Grill more than meats
Grilling is synonymous with summer, and not just for meats. Some of the most popular vegetables to grill are eggplants, zucchinis, onions, asparagus and portabella mushrooms. But don’t stop there. Grilled fruit, such as pineapple, mangoes and peaches have an unbeatable sweet and savory flavor customers will love.
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