It’s time to consider swapping out heavier ingredients for those that are light, bright, and fresh. Highlight the season’s bounty and let your culinary creativity blossom with these tips for spring limited time offers.
One way to develop LTOs is to think of one specific ingredient, like ramps or other plentiful seasonal fruit or veggies, and build specials around it for each part of the menu. Another approach is to look at various spring flavors and sprinkle them throughout your menu.
Appetizers are a great category for LTOs because they create a unique, memorable experience from a guest’s first bite. And with more consumers snacking today, having an array of appetizers/snacks on your spring LTO menu can boost sales throughout the day. Charcuterie boards are the hottest appetizer of 2023.1 And not only can you upcharge but they’re easy to put together because you can use whatever is in season and ingredients you have right in-house.
For spring, consider purple cauliflower, watermelon radishes, carrots with a spicy hummus dip, with pickled beets, strawberries, and dried mango. With Peak® Fresh Produce, there are an abundance of in-season fresh fruits and veggies to choose from to create any charcuterie board you want. Other tasty spring apps that can really bring your LTO menu to life include:
- Burrata, asparagus, and prosciutto sprinkled with toasted pine nuts
- Crispy ramp tempura with green goddess dressing
- Sauteed morel mushroom crostini
- Spring crudité with bagna cauda
Small Plates, Big Impact
According to a recent report, one in five consumers are eating small plates at least once a week. This is a trend that’s still growing, and for good reason: It’s more affordable for the consumer and the restaurant, and it creates a fun, shareable experience for guests to try more menu items.
Think of small plates as scaled-down versions of main dishes or shareable side dishes. This Peak Fig and Asparagus Bruschetta recipe with Roma® Blue Cheese screams spring and is a quick and cost-effective yet flavor-packed option for your spring shareables. Other small plates to consider are:
- Morel mushroom and fava bean tartine
- Flight of deviled eggs with spring flavors
- Steamed artichokes with yuzu kosho butter
There’s no better place for spring to shine on your menu than in salads. Utilize salad ingredients as a side, app, or full entrée. Look for spring lettuces, like little gem, spinach, and tatsoi, and think about including an in-season fruit like strawberries or apples to create salads that guests will love, including:
- Raw asparagus salad with walnuts and parm
- Pickled beet salad with goat cheese
- Arugula salad with berries, snap peas, and strawberry-balsamic vinaigrette
Fresh berries are just beginning to appear in the early months of spring, which gives way to raspberries and blueberries later in the season. Bright, citrusy flavors such as lemon, mango, and grapefruit are the way to go for your spring dessert LTOs and will be a treat for the eyes and tastebuds.
This Sweet Encore® Pineapple Upside Down Cake with a Mandarin Berry Jam can capture the flavors of the season and offer guests a dessert with a little “wow” factor. Eggs are also at their peak in the spring, so sweet treats like pavlovas or tarts are an easy, fun way to highlight these fleeting flavors. Looking for more inspiration? Here are some additional dessert ideas to sprout sales and leave customers with a lasting impression:
- Strawberry shortcake with fresh basil and mint
- Strawberry rhubarb hand pies
- Brûléed mango pavlova
1National Restaurant Association, What’s Hot 2023 Culinary Forecast