Every restaurant owner wants to serve customers a unique menu full of classic dishes and exciting new flavors. However, finding inspiration for new items can be challenging if only traditional offerings are considered. Many communities and cultures feature street food vendors that have become staples for diners.
For instance, jerk chicken originated as a Jamaican street food item but has become a popular dish in restaurants across the U.S. While not every street food may make sense on your menu, there are sure to be a few dishes from which to draw inspiration. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at how you can bring street food to modern guests.
Consider Your Base
Your customers are the first people to consider when thinking about street food. For example, if your neighborhood is known for its Vietnamese influences, try incorporating a twist on street food such as pho or ban mi. While you don’t need to rebrand your menu, adding in dishes as specials will show that you care about your community. It also provides an opportunity to connect with customers on a personal level.
Host an Event
Another great way to bring street food to your guests is by hosting a casual event in your outdoor space. Not only does this allow you to engage the local community, but it can also be a great way to test potential specials on your menu. Have your chefs create sample street food dishes and ask guests to rate their favorite. This type of feedback will provide you with vital information on what preferred foods your patrons enjoy.
Highlight Your Heritage
A close-to-home way you can incorporate street food into your menu is by turning to your own background. If your family has roots in another country or you have ancestors that grew up in a different location, it can provide inspiration to bring aspects of those cuisines to your community.
Start by thinking about different casual foods you used to love as a kid or ask family members about their favorite dishes. Having a personal connection and story can highlight certain specials and help you stand out from competitors.