Either you’ve been waiting all year for pumpkin spice everything, or you’re deeply offended by the very notion. Whether you like it or not, the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back again this fall and it’s sure to be as profitable as ever. As you come up with menu ideas throughout the year, consider how you can incorporate foods in season to boost recognition and sales.
What the pumpkin spice craze illustrates is the love of foods in season nationwide and among Oregonians. Seasonal menu items signify a commitment to locally-sourced ingredients and sustainability. Seasonal foods from local farms take less resources to ship and are perceived as healthier and more environmentally friendly by consumers.
When planning your seasonal dishes, think about vegetables, fruits, spices, and flavor combinations that allude to the season. Pumpkins are part of the zeitgeist of fall, as strawberries are part of spring and watermelons part of summer. Besides exotic spices and pumpkins, the fall also offers all kinds of recipes with apples and squash, for example. Offering seasonal menu items allows you to tap into the joys of each season beyond the oftentimes superficial feeling ‘holiday’ items. Seasonal items give your restaurant a refreshing flavor profile each season that returning customers can anticipate and look forward to.
Pumpkin spice lattes also illustrate that a simple combination of spices can invoke the spirit of each season. Though the best pumpkin spice lattes are made with real pumpkin, many ‘pumpkin spice’ items simply put a cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg twist on regular menu items, like pancakes or muffins. Consider how you can change one ingredient—such as the type of berries in a dessert—to make things more seasonal.
Keep in mind though that local, fresh fruits and vegetables tend to have a shorter shelf life and can sometimes come at a higher cost. It is important to work with your supplier to optimize the use of these ingredients and maximize profitability while avoiding food waste.
McDonald’s Wholesale is a restaurant supply company that provides a wide variety of seasonal items from local farms in the Portland area. We serve independent restaurants of all sizes, with both large menus and specialized ones. As you plan your fall recipes, get in touch with us to learn how we can provide you with delicious, fresh seasonal ingredients.