Fancy a Nibble?
Thanks to sporting events, the school holidays and (hopefully) sunny days, the next two months will see an increased footfall of customers coming through your door outside of traditional eating times. This is a great opportunity for you to boost all-day snack sales. Bar bites, nibbles, sharing platters – the choice of snacky, finger food is as popular as ever and is a must for your menu.
Spread the word
Like the Specials Board for your main menu, create one for casual dining and snacks too, positioned somewhere customers will see it. Make sure your casual dining options are on your website (including times they are available), and if you use social media promote menu choices on there too. Make sure staff tell customers about your snacking menu, especially those who are just ordering drinks, and spread the word around with the locals who come in. Nothing sells food better than a delicious free sample, so in quiet times spread a few taster options along the bar for customers to try – and order.
Cash in on chips
Chips are one of the most ordered items on pub menus. Offer curly fries, wedges, seasoned fries, twisters, sweet potato fries or the ever popular chip and you’ll never go far wrong. However, operators can cash in on their chip sales with a premium price offer – just by spicing them up through seasoning, toppings and dips. Aviko’s ‘Cash in Your Chips’ promotion encourages operators to switch from standard chips to a variety of its premium fries that include Supercrunch, Superlong and sweet potato variants. Combined with seasoning, these options can make you more than 70p extra per portion. Cooks&Co’s American Mayonnaise with ketchup and sweet pickle relish works well as an exciting dip for potato wedges. “Summer is a really important time for caterers,” says Anne Marie Cannon, brand manager for Cooks&Co. “Our new American Mayonnaise adds real flavour and flair to dishes to help caterers maximise margins by serving up higher value dishes.”
A slice of the action
Everyone loves a slice of pizza, so whether you have a dedicated menu or add it as part of your casual dining offering, pizza is a menu winner. Why not offer a menu and wine deal in quieter times or even a pizza and beer during sporting events? Providing a takeaway option is a very good move as customers are more likely to order a full pizza for themselves, rather than share, if the option to take it home is there. The Hynburn Restaurant & Bar in Accrington offers this service. “We take a lot of pride in our pizzas, and our pizza menu is just as popular as our standard one,” says manager Joanne Foster. The restaurant has a separate pizza menu and a deli bar where customers can see their pizzas, from 7 inch to 12 inch, being made. “We have a lot of customers sitting at the bar eating pizza and garlic bread in an informal setting. And the best thing is, they know they can take home what they don’t eat if they get too full!”
Nibble at the bar
Bar bites are becoming more popular in pubs. The Aspinall Arms in Mitton serves bar bites throughout the day alongside its normal menu. Featured on a blackboard behind the bar, it offers whitebait, chipolatas, pork pie, hummus and black pudding fritters; ordered individually or as a platter of four at £9.95. “The bar bites have proven to be very popular, especially for walkers that fancy a nibble to go with a lovely pint,” says Susanne Engelmann, deputy manager.
Care to share
From nachos, to sharing platters and tapas, the variety of food to share is endless. The pub chain Nicholson’s has two sharers on its menu. The normal sharer includes creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, chilli chicken skewers, and Gloucester Old Spot sausages. The Skinny Sharer for those calorie counting, has lighter options such as cucumber and yellow pepper batons, home-cooked tortilla chips, hummus and guacamole. The Plough in Scalby, Scarborough, offers a Yorkshire Tapas menu at £3.50 per dish. It is available through the week from 6-9pm, with a trio of tapas offered on a Sunday lunchtime. Dishes include Yorkshire cured meats and baby gherkins, grilled chilli and garlic prawn with rapeseed mayo, Scarborough woof scampi and tartare sauce, northern fried chicken with wild garlic mayo, black pudding and sage sausage roll with HP sauce and curried courgette fritters with curried mayo (suitable for vegetarians). The menu is complemented by the draught beers available and extensive wine list; the latter available also by the glass. “This is hugely successful and is often enjoyed in place of the more traditional style of starters we offer, and equally, with couples and groups who just want to graze and enjoy a less formal dining experience,” says head chef Jon Smith.