Menu Seasonality: Why YOU Should Consider It For Your School!
Sights and aromas aren’t the only captivating detail that comes along with creating seasonal recipes. Think about it- when gingerbread is mentioned, what comes to mind? How about potato salad and watermelon? Or apple pie? The nostalgic aspects of these ingredient details are one thing, but there is big purpose behind serving seasonal foods. Here are just 3!
1. Limited Time Offer "LTO"
THE Pumpkin Spice Latte or more widely referred to as "PSL" from Starbucks is long awaited by its fan club seemingly from the time it is taken off of the menu until its release in the fall months. The PSL is only available for a certain amount of time, creating a hype and a "need it now" type of mentality for customers- driving the desire for the drink itself. Pisanick Partners recognizes this phenomenon and often encourages schools offer LTO items seasonally that draw attention to the menu and create an enhanced consumer following. Creating an LTO specialty for your menu is a must to generate excitement around everyone's seasonal favorites!
2. Focus on Scratch Cooking + Creativity!
This fall the Pisanick Partner team hosted our first professional development opportunity heavily focused on culinary training; one aspect being scratch made seasonal recipes. Creating a menu based on what is available during the season not only provides new limited-time offerings that customers LOVE but also challenges the typical school offerings and encourages some creativity in the kitchen! There is just something about a scratch made seasonal dish that no cheesy frozen pizza can elicit.
3. Controlling Cost
You can either look at a school's typical $1.50 food cost per meal as the plate half full or empty (pun intended). We choose to look at it half full, actually chock full of fresh and healthy foods. Seasonality doesn't equal sacrificing due to cost, mainly because creating dishes using seasonal ingredients actually helps cut down and control food cost. Buying seasonally appropriate foods may actually be less expensive than some of your other menu items because of their abundance. The price of produce often fluctuates based on what is seasonally accessible, and therefore it is important to understand what provisions are available in your area at what time. Buying local based on the season not only helps the local economy, but provides extremely fresh ingredients with a longer shelf life at a premium low cost! It is a win win for staff, kids, and farmers!
Most recently, we highlighted Thanksgiving this season's go-around by creating scratch-made favorites such as savory apple & cranberry stuffing, homemade turkey gravy, fresh steamed broccoli, pumpkin mousse parfaits and more. Promoting the holiday atmosphere in the lunchroom at Woodridge Middle School brought in old and new customers including district staff from far and wide. They are now hoping this tradition lives on for school years to come!
Check out some photos of the recipes that were re-made for the Thanksgiving feast at Woodridge Middle School!