We’re sharing simple ways to broaden your restaurant’s menu and appeal to a wider audience by doing so.

At last, the hospitality sector is returning to its pre-COVID status and consumers’ desire to dine out, enjoy their leisure time and get back to a ‘near normal’ state is apparent.  

Recent findings from a consumer survey* reveal that more than two thirds (70%) of consumers now feel confident about visiting pubs, bars and restaurants, with many keen to support the hospitality sector after the impact of the pandemic. However, with everyone fighting for a share of the action in light of increased inflation, hotels must up their game and entice consumers to spend with them.  

On broadening a hotel’s appeal as a dining destination, David Jones, Managing Director of Pan’Artisan Ltd, said: “Consumers relate dining at hotels with a greater sense of occasion alongside  an expectation of high standards, not only in the presentation of their surroundings, but also their food offering. 

“Pizza represents one of the UK’s favourite family choices.”

“Quality is key, so hotels should choose the best quality products to elevate their menus and they should look to add innovative, creative dishes to enhance their appeal to the consumer.  

“Pan’Artisan produces a range of premium quality dough products, including dough balls, that can be used inventively across all courses and meal occasions – from starters to mains and sides, as well as, with a little creativity from the chef, desserts.  We encourage our customers to take advantage of our development chefs, to come and work with our products in tailor-made skills workshops to help get the best out of them in order to be able to produce unique products back in their own kitchens.”

For a hotel to see optimum footfall at their venue, opening the doors of on-site restaurants to the general public is an easy way to do so. Often, many overnight stay venues prefer to keep their food offerings private for staying guests only, but introducing a specific day for a themed food night for the wider public too is a great way to reap the benefits by doing both.

David commented: “Themed nights can offer a wonderfully immersive experience for resident guests and the general public. I would suggest to hoteliers to market these locally, create a buzz through digital platforms, but above all, research your theme well – a well-researched theme night should impress diners, but also offer a touch of authenticity and make them feel like it’s been money well spent.  Don’t be tempted to use price as the driver, using great quality products will pay off and offer true value for money.

“One mega trend is menu personalisation.”

“Pizza represents one of the UK’s favourite family choices, so choosing to support an Italian-themed menu with interesting detail behind the dishes could be an interesting option. For pizza night, perhaps some background story on the origins of pizza and Italy’s regional variations might be a good start, along with food pairing suggestions of Italian wines and beers.  This attention to detail can support a premium price and will reassure customers of authenticity.

“Many hotels have open kitchens or outdoor dining areas – consider investing in a pizza oven or training staff in the theatrical skills of a pizzaiolo; these are assets that will entertain and draw in repeat custom.”

For those with limited kitchen skills, or facilities, Pan’Artisan has an amazing range of genuine Italian wood-fired pizza bases, one of the company’s most popular options. This is a product with the authentic characteristics of a higher crust and the delicious flavour of traditional Napolitan pizza. 

To ensure a genuine, rustic, artisanal base, the dough is manufactured in Italy, guaranteeing provenance and authenticity. The bases are naturally proved for 24 hours in a purpose-designed room to control heat and humidity, which imparts a fine and light texture, and provides an easier digestible base with a stronger flavour and aroma.

Hotel restaurants are first and foremost, restaurants. They offer the same service as their autonomous counterparts (a kitchen, food, a seating room, and staff), but in order to stand out in what is a competitive industry, the menu is key in offering a dynamic edge to consumers – whether that be guests who are staying or the general public.

Establishing which kind of cuisine your restaurant is going to serve early will determine what audience you appeal to, but also building your menu by introducing a staple item can be a great way to build a reputation, enticing guests back time and time again.

Peter Evans, UK & IRL Marketing Manager at Lamb Weston, told us that 1 in 3 UK meals are served with chips, with fries as the UK’s favourite side dish. Lamb Weston’s extensive range of potato products is greater than any other provider on the market and can be used as the perfect base ingredient to craft sensational, high-margin menus for every occasion, whether bar snack, room service, function, or in the restaurant.

Potatoes are the most versatile carb – crispy, crunchy, fluffy fries hit flavour receptors that rice, pasta and wheat just can’t match. Their fries are also gluten free and suitable for vegans, so they have the broadest appeal too! 

Because diners love them so much, Lamb Weston’s fries are the ideal product to experiment with, and a balanced flavour profile allows huge opportunity to pile on the flavour.  Add mainstream spice flavours like peri-peri or harissa, or send a fries dish upmarket (adding an extra 40% margin!) with parmesan and truffle oil or rosemary and pink Himalayan salt. 

We asked Peter how he recommends a hotel should broaden their restaurant menu in order to reach a wider audience, to which he said: “One mega trend is menu personalisation – try a ‘Fries Three Ways’ sharing board, with three different cut-sizes; Thick Cut, Shoestring and Dippers, paired with a range of flavoursome dips or toppers that diners can choose themselves. This creates a simple serve that works brilliantly as a tapas-style sharer for any part of the day, or a family-friendly side option!”

Establish your hotel restaurant’s identity and build gradually from there. Remember, your restaurant doesn’t just have to be for the enjoyment of your staying guests; making the wider general public a part of your target audience (even if it’s for one day a week) will benefit you in the long run.

*CGA Strategy ‘Consumer confidence grows to raise hopes for hospitality’s recovery in 2022’ – Consumer Pulse Survey January 2022