Pizzaperta Manfredi's minestrone with risoni at West HQ.

There’s no denying that the food options at clubs have come a long way. While there is always room for club classics – steak, schnitzel, and Sunday roast – what keeps patrons returning again and again is the variety of new and exciting dishes. And now, with the peak summer trading period over, it’s time for clubs and their food and beverage teams to turn their attention to seasonal opportunities through evolving and interesting menus that drive interest, sales, and repeat visitation ahead of the cooler months.

“Evolving menus that change regularly create new and exciting reasons for customers to return and spend,” according to Future Food director Allan Forsdick.

“While there will always be a place for menu staples and favourites, these should be spiced with a good helping of new menu items and variations. The aim is to provide a balance of proven success and interest-generating dishes specific to your target audience.”

He added that announcing seasonal menu changes is a fantastic marketing opportunity.

“It creates a sense of anticipation among patrons and gives them a reason to return to try new offerings,” said Forsdick.

“Developing a point of difference should be at the forefront of any business strategy. What can be more appealing and effective than promoting the club’s surrounding areas by championing the local region in which it operates, further strengthening the connection between club, customer, and country.”

Forsdick said with cost pressures continuously increasing, there’s never been a better time for clubs to be designing menus around what’s seasonally available.

“Australia’s diverse agricultural regions benefit from distinct climates which allow producers and farmers to produce a wide variety of ingredient options throughout the year. This abundance provides a positive ripple down the supply chain and can often result in advantageous buying conditions at the supplier level,” he said.

“There has never been a more challenging time in restaurants to turn a profit; buying seasonally available produce will aid in maintaining sustainable financial controls on each menu item and ensure menu item availability throughout the year.”

Producing menus based on seasonally available produce is also an opportunity for chefs to flex their creativity in the kitchen.

“Developing seasonal menus not only provides customers with a level of variety in climate-appropriate choices and value for money, but the new menu also launches often create a level of excitement internally and allow chefs to develop new dishes which speak to provenance and seasonality,” Forsdick said.

This is as an extract of a feature from Club Management Autumn 24. You can read the full story below.

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