Give your seasonal menu a fall refresh

The changing of the seasons is a great time to switch up your menu, adding fall flavours and comfort foods your customers crave. Creating a seasonal menu means that it’s temporary (to be changed with the next season) so it also encourages your guests to visit you and try the menu before it disappears. You don’t need to eliminate your menu’s best-sellers, simply add some seasonal items to make it fresh for fall.

From meal kits to online ordering to delivery, research shows that Canadians are in the mood for fall favourites, with Google searches for “how long to cook pumpkin pie” up over 5000 per cent, “traditional Irish stew” up over 250 per cent, and “potato leek soup recipe” up 50 per cent. How can you make your menu more fall-friendly and give diners the comforting seasonal dishes they’re looking for?

A traditional take

This year’s trends have focused heavily on nostalgic options, coining “newstalgia” for menu items that offer a new twist on old favourites. Dishes like macaroni and cheese, chilis and stews, and house-made soups offer hearty choices for your guests, so save a spot on your menu for these. Want to go all-in on fall? Consider offering some updated classics like pumpkin sage gnocchi, personal chicken pot pies, or sausage pasta with apples for just a few of the seasonal flavours you can add to your menu.

Stay seasonal

Embrace what’s in season for a current, fresh menu, featuring fruits and veggies from local producers before the weather turns. Incorporate dishes with apples, cranberries, pumpkin, sweet potato or squash into your dishes to feature the season’s best. Strong, aromatic ingredients can also help your guests get the fall feel, with flavours like cinnamon, chai, maple, and more.

Sticking with seasonal ingredients is a win-win, often offering cheaper options as they are more readily available, and potentially lending themselves to larger batch cooking, saving you time and labour, too.

Cocktails and mocktails

Beverage menus are still stealing the show, so get trendy with your drinks! Give your beverage menu a fall feel by incorporating nostalgia and seasonality together. And don’t forget to include hot options in alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions. The classic PSL, spiked hot chocolate, hot apple cider, and more, can immediately evoke a fall feel for your beverages.

As the colder weather often makes consumers want to stay cozy, comfortable and warm, don’t forget to incorporate some of these fall additions into your takeout menu. Get your guests trying out your seasonal menu again and again before winter comes, whether they visit your restaurant or choose to dine at home.