The sweltering days of summer are finally gone, and fall is upon us. With the changing weather comes changing menus alongside the comforting autumn flavors that tug on diners’ emotions, evoke feelings of nostalgia, and leave them feeling cozy, full, and satisfied.
Boost sales and attract more business with innovative menu ideas for fall favorites.
Apple of Your Eye
From candy apples that celebrate Halloween and autumn festivals, to classic apple pie, to apple cider donuts, or a salad with roasted apples in an apple vinaigrette, the appeal of the apple will never die. It lends itself to so many dishes, from appetizers to desserts. Apple and Brie bites or goat cheese, honey, and apple crostinis are perfect for shareable snacks.
For the main event, not much pairs better with a juicy, tender pork chop than sweetened apples in a Dijon glaze. Talk about flavor! Or serve up grilled cheese for lunch with sage, crisp apples, sharp cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions. Dessert doesn’t have to be all apple pie or apple crisp. Get creative with dessert options by offering baked apples with gelato or cinnamon apple empanadas.
Soup for You
Soothing soup — possibly the coziest fall dish of them all. Not only do customers love it, but it can fit multiple meal functions, increase ingredient utilization, and cut down on food and labor costs. Look to root vegetables and seasonal spices to bring soups to life. Save time but keep the homemade flavor of chicken tortilla soup by using an ingredient like Minor’s® Chicken Base, along with diced or shredded chicken, black beans, and cheese. Don’t forget to top with tortilla strips, sour cream, and salsa verde.
A Little Chili
A favorite among sports fans, potlucks, and holiday gatherings, chili is yet another comforting autumn classic that is versatile and can appeal to many diners. Serve up heaping bowls traditional style with ground beef and kidney beans or make it leaner with turkey meat. Its appeal can even stretch to vegetarians by leaving out the meat altogether or subbing in lentils or plant-based meat alternatives. And the topping possibilities are endless, so get creative with your fall renditions here!
Catchin’ All the Fall Feels
Not much gets diners to spend a little more or change their minds when ordering than nostalgia. Seeing their favorite comfort foods on menus that they ate growing up, and dishes they continue to serve their families today, will get them feeling all warm and fuzzy. And what’s more comforting than pot roast? You can use an item like Minor’s® Beef Base to serve up a filling, traditional beef stew with onions, carrots, and potatoes and transport diners back to simpler times. Or use the base to jazz up leftover meatloaf for sandwiches to add to the lunch menu. Other warming and hearty options like pot pie, shrimp and grits, or fried chicken with all the fixins are also great options to evoke those emotions of home and get diners spending more.
A Great Bake
You can’t fail this fall by baking something and covering it in cheese. And baked mac and cheese is loved by pretty much all kinds of fall diners. You can keep the classic of sharp cheddar and elbow mac or venture out a little fancier and swap in lobster and cavatappi pasta with sharp white cheddar and fontina cheeses, all combined with a sherry cream sauce. Of course, classics like baked spaghetti, baked ziti, and lasagna are always crowd-pleasers and can be easily made to fit the season with different veggies and spices.
Pumpkin is King
As much as we sometimes complain about it, people love pumpkin—in and on everything, from coffee to pizza, to beer. Fifty-seven percent of consumers “like or love” pumpkin. Its versatility and popularity give restaurant owners countless opportunities to get creative with their fall menus.
A number of pumpkin products, such as Libby’s® Pure Pumpkin can serve up everything from a harvest salad with a pumpkin vinaigrette, a pumpkin hummus, or a delectable honey pumpkin spread to serve with warm bread while guests wait. Or warm bellies and souls by using it to enrich polenta and serve with rich braised short ribs and a rosemary pumpkin demi. For the vegetarian crowd, try a creamy pumpkin risotto with sage and Parmesan, sure to be comforting and filling.