According to a recent article from Nation’s Restaurant News, written by Ron Ruggless, Valentine’s Day falls just a heartbeat behind Mother’s Day among restaurants’ busiest days of the year, and with it comes operational heartaches.
In years past, the National Restaurant Association has estimated that as many as 70 million people will dine out on Valentine’s Day, surpassing No. 3 Father’s Day, No. 4 New Year’s Eve and No. 5 Easter.
The Feb. 14 holiday falls on a Friday this year, raising the potential for a tsunami of love-struck guests, from bastions of high-dollar fine dining to the kitsch of White Castle.
“What’s the saddest day of the year for a restaurant that has all four-tops?” asked Sherri Kimes, Cornell University professor of services operations management, referring to the challenges of accommodating the wave of two-person parties on Valentine’s Day.
“What are you going to do? Tell the next couple that walks in that, ‘There’s a lovely couple over there at that table, would you like to join them?’” Kimes said.
Operators can prepare for the onslaught of two-by-two parties, starting by estimating how many two-tops they expect.
Using data from prior-year holidays, “What a restaurateur should do is estimate the percentage of parties that will come in as parties of two and multiply the number of seats in the restaurant by that percentage,” Kimes said. “That will give the number of seats that should be provided at two-tops.” To calculate the number of tables, divide that number by two.
“Let’s say a restaurateur estimates that about 80 percent of parties on Valentine’s Day come as couples,” Kimes explained. “Her restaurant has 200 seats: 80 percent of 200 equals 160 seats should be at two-tops.” Divide 160 by two, she added, and the operator should budget 80 two-tops.
The Valentine’s Day two-top percentage depends on the type of restaurant, Kimes said.
“I’ve seen some fine-dining restaurants where it’s 90 percent [two-tops],” she said, adding with a laugh, “and there are no singles.”
Kimes advised operators to acquire more two-top tables if possible by switching out four-top and larger tables with two-tops rented, borrowed or on hand for the occasion.
“You might have some in the back, or maybe you can borrow some,” she said. “If you don’t have a lot of two-tops and you are taking reservations, you might want to be giving preference to the larger parties if you have the excess demand.”
Tables that allow seating flexibility are crucial to restaurant planning, Kimes said, as other holidays, such as Mother’s Day, pose the opposite challenge of Valentine’s Day: a demand by large parties and bigger tables.
Valentine’s Day also offers the potential for significant upselling, even before guests enter the door, Kimes added.
“You can have special Valentine’s Day menus that may be a little pricier, because people want something special,” she said. “You also have the possibilities for add-on sales for flowers or something like that. When the restaurant takes a reservation, it might be worth asking questions about doing extra things. Customers might value that and, of course, would be willing to pay for.”
In 2011 the NRA surveyed member restaurants and found the best guest responses to special menu items, prix fixe menus, celebratory beverages or desserts, flowers or candy, and entertainment or music.
Even quick-service chains can tap into the action. For the past 20 years, 400-unit White Castle has brought romance to its locations by turning them into “Love Castles,” providing tablecloths, candles, tableside service and reservations on Valentine’s Day. Last year, more than 20,000 guests dined at the chain on the holiday.
“It’s become huge for us. It’s a great expression of our commitment to make memorable moments everyday,” said Jamie Richardson, vice president for government and shareholder relations at Columbus, Ohio-based White Castle System Inc., adding that team members enjoy the day as well.
“We’re already 90-percent full for our reservations this year in our Chicago stores,” Richardson said. “We may have to expand our Valentine’s Day hours.”
Looking for ways to promote your restaurant this Valentine’s Day? Check out these 10 tips to help inspire you. If you are looking for some recipes to spice up this romantic holiday, check out our Pinterest board.
Many of the food items customers now covet also deliver solid margins for restaurant operators, according to a recent article from RestaurantHospitality.com written by Bob Krummert.
Prognosticators have already weighed in on the tastes and trends that will prevail throughout 2014—here’s a comprehensive list in case you missed any of them. But now Restaurant Finance Monitor has provided a big-picture perspective that tells operators what they really want to know: Will their restaurants make money next year? The short answer: Yes. Sales are headed up and, more importantly, food costs are trending down.
“Many franchisees we spoke with recently are somewhat bullish heading into 2014 in part because they fully expect food costs will ease this year, which should enable them to be more profitable,” the publication reports.
One caveat, and it’s a big one: Beef prices will remain high. It’s a key factor in an industry where burger chains have been coining money of late and steakhouses remain a can’t-miss format for many industry players.
There’s still plenty of action in the better burger segment. Operators ranging from Shake Shack to Smashburger are still opening units in new markets at a rapid clip, soaring ground beef prices or no. And the big-ticket steakhouse remains the go-to option for multiconcept operators ranging from celebrity chef Tom Colicchio to dozens of savvy local and regional players.
Keeping food costs in line at beef palaces like these will continue to be a challenge this year. But consumers are increasingly willing to embrace non-beef-centric options. Those who collect data that document long-term consumption patterns put out an eye-opening report in early 2014: Chicken has overtaken beef as the most popular animal protein source for U.S. consumers. As food trend predictors have noted, U.S. restaurant patrons are more than ready to embrace a dazzling array of new foods and cuisines and their protein choices have become more eclectic.
The upshot for operators: in 2014, food trends can dovetail neatly with less costly proteins. You may wish to adjust your menu accordingly—just don’t get caught behind when cattle herd sizes return to normal, beef prices drop and consumers taste sentiment swings back to ever-popular burgers and steaks.
Looking to get a handle on your food costs? MenuMax calculates the exact price of a recipe and helps you set a suitable price for the consumer so you never have to worry about losing money on a plate. Visit MenuMax.com or call us at 1-877-MENUMAX to learn more today.
According to an article from Full-Service Restaurants.com, the cost of food products is predicted to increase overall by 2 percent in 2014, per the newly released purchasing cost outlook by SpenDiffeerence, LLC, the rapidly growing chain-restaurant purchasing cooperative.
The increase is a slight improvement over this 2013’s costs with overall food costs rising 2.6 percent. For the last five years, the total inflation rate has been 7.1 percent.
The price of corn is forecasted to drop 20 percent in 2014, offering relief on poultry purchases, except for wings, which will experience a minimal increase of 2 to 3 percent. Expected decreases in breast meat are 5 to 9 percent. The cost of pork bellies, after achieving a record high this year, is expected to drop 13 percent in 2014. Other pork items will also see some relief, averaging about a 4 percent decrease compared to 2013.
Beef, due to the growth cycle, will not recover until mid-2015 at the earliest, with a modest increase of 2 percent in costs expected in 2014.
Try these tips to help reduce your food cost in 2014:
- Look at breads and identify savings. The cost of wheat is expected to drop 10 percent.
- The cost of cheese is expected to come down 3.2 percent. Take coverage in the front half of 2014 to protect from seasonal increases in the back half of the year.
- Draft a food-cost purchasing forecast to identify areas of savings and potential cost increases.
- Try utilizing the many services MenuMax offers to link your order guides for food costing, analyze food cost and percentages customized to your menus to ensure your profit is as high as possible.
For more information on how to control your food costs, email firstname.lastname@example.org today or call us at 1-877-MENUMAX.
What are the top restaurant trends for the New Year? Andrew Freeman, chief executive of San Francisco-based hospitality consulting firm Andrew Freeman & Co., predicts what’s next in this article from NRN.com, written by Bret Thorn.
Tableside service: Traditional (the bolito misto cart at Poggio in Sausalito, Calif., and the tableside Caesar salad at Carbone in New York) and not-so-traditional (the Margarita cart at Stampede 66 in Dallas, where the drinks are frozen with liquid nitrogen) tableside presentations appeal to customers and are good for the bottom line, according to Freeman. “The wow presentations mean big bucks,” he said.
Niche ethnic: Restaurants like Fat Rice in Chicago, which specializes in the cuisine of Macao, and La Urbana in San Francisco, serving the food of Mexico City, are examples of the specificity with which some restaurants are presenting their ethnic cuisine.
Multipurpose restaurants: Expect more places like Pass and Provisions in Houston, which is a fine dining restaurant on one side and a casual restaurant on the other.
Live art: Restaurants are using digital images, both still and moving, to keep their art changing, such as the videos of Flamenco dancers at Canela in San Francisco.
Year of the brasserie: Not necessarily French, but casual, sophisticated and boisterous restaurants such as Lafayette in New York and Cavalier in San Francisco are on the leading edge of this trend.
“Gilded chopsticks”: Higher-end Asian restaurants are in the offing at places like Hakkasan in New York, San Francisco and Miami, and M.Y. China in San Francisco.
Looking for ways to ensure your restaurant runs efficiently? Check out the user-friendly tools of MenuMax!
Andrew Freeman, chief executive of San Francisco-based hospitality consulting firm Andrew Freeman & Co., predicts what’s next in food, drinks and more in this article from NRN.com, written by Bret Thorn. In this collection, Freeman suggests the top beverage trends for 2014.
Infused ice: Last year, bars and restaurants were making distinctive cubes or shaving their own ice. Now they’re infusing cubes with herbs and other ingredients to enhance flavors.
Wine by the ounce: “People don’t like commitment,” Freeman said, noting that they also like to try different things, which is why more restaurants are offering wine by the ounce, as well as recommending wine flights.
Artisanal spirits: Local craft beer is well established, but local spirits are trending, too. “Local spirits are infusing cocktails like I have never seen.”
“Tippler nibblers”: Expect more food-drink combinations such as potent snow cones and graham cracker squares in root beer floats.
Local and Iberian wines: Every state in the union now makes wine, and they’re becoming more popular — and so are wines from Spain and Portugal.
Tea cocktails: “Tea is going crazy right now,” Freeman said, noting that it’s in food and desserts, but also in cocktails.
Watch for our next blog post on restaurant trends for 2014. Need a way to safely store all these trendy new recipes? Learn more about how MenuMax can help!
Andrew Freeman, chief executive of San Francisco-based hospitality consulting firm Andrew Freeman & Co., predicts what’s next in food, drinks and more in this article from NRN.com, written by Bret Thorn.
The coming year will be a year of blurred lines in the hospitality industry, with hotel lobbies doubling as living rooms, croissants doubling as doughnuts, and vegetables doubling as dessert ingredients, a hospitality consulting group predicts.
After a quick rundown of the trends that are winding down, what’s currently trending and what we’re likely to see next year (see some examples below), Freeman outlined other food, beverage and restaurant trends the industry may see in 2014.
||Ice cream sandwiches
||Beer and beer cocktails
||Tea and tea cocktails
MENU TRENDS for 2014
86 the chicken: Restaurants are taking the risk of removing ever-popular chicken from the menu and offering less conventional proteins, such as catfish, pork belly and goat.
New-fangled Cobb salads: Moving away from Caesar salads, restaurants are offering updated Cobbs, with personal touches such as fried avocados or jerk chicken.
Haute homey: Upgraded comfort food, such as the modern pierogies at Bluestem Brasserie in San Francisco and peanut butter panna cotta at 1760 in San Francisco, is becoming more popular.
“Mutant morsels”: Unusual combinations — such as the ramen burger that went viral after being introduced at the Smorgasburg food market in Brooklyn, N.Y., or the dessert pizza with Nutella, marshmallows and macadamia nuts at Scala’s Bistro in San Francisco — are striking chords with customers.
Ice cream sandwiches: Freeman predicted that we’ll see more of these portable desserts, particularly from food trucks and pop-up restaurants.
Nontraditional chips: Instead of tortilla chips, potato chips or crostini, Freeman predicted we’ll see more items such as the beef tendon chips at the Hi-Lo BBQ in San Francisco.
Sea-to-table: “We’re sort of thinking next year is going to see this whole sea-to-table movement,” Freeman said, noting that chefs are experimenting with less common seafood, such as octopus and monkfish liver.
Watch for beverage trends for 2014 in our next post!
Unique menu items and increased spending among older consumers are two trends that will impact the food service industry next year, according to a recent article from Nation’s Restaurant News, written by Ron Ruggless.
Menu innovation and older consumers’ increased spending are among the top 10 trends shaping the restaurant industry in 2014, according to The NPD Group.
The Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research firm released its list of predictions for the industry in the year ahead and beyond, ranging from the impact of baby boomers and seniors to the effect of prepared meals at supermarkets on market share.
“If there is anything that’s a common theme here — maybe more so than in years past — it’s menu innovation, “ said NPD Group restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs.
New top-selling products of 2013, such as Wendy’s pretzel bun burger and Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos, were based on innovation, Riggs said.
“Those that came out with something really different and unique had big hits,” she said. “That’s what it is going to take to get especially the Millennials and younger folks out of the home and back into restaurants.”
However, operators should also closely watch the increased spending among baby boomers and seniors, as this group is “keeping the industry afloat,” Riggs added. “They are the ones that are increasing their usage of restaurants, while those younger — under 50 — have pulled back dramatically and are still pulling back,” Riggs said.
Baby boomers’ and seniors’ usage rate of restaurants is now heavier than younger generations, she said, and many of them continue to delay retirement. “They are the driver of any growth that the industry is achieving,” she added. “They tell us they want comfortable seating, less noisy restaurants [and] a menu that is easy to read. We need to pay attention to them.”
NPD’s top 10 trends it expects to influence the restaurant industry also included:
An improving economy. Real disposable income is forecast to grow, inflation will remain moderate, and unemployment will continue to inch down in the year ahead.
“While consumers’ mindset for cautious, controlled spending is expected to remain in place for some time, our forecast of traffic and dollar growth for 2014 shows improved performance compared to 2013,” NPD said.
Segment strengths. NPD forecasts indicate that traffic will build for fast-casual restaurants, sub shops and gourmet coffee/donut outlets.
“Additionally, convenience stores are likely to experience traffic growth as they take advantage of consumers’ current tendency to ‘trade down’ from more expensive options,” NPD said, adding that food retailers with convenient meal options would capture more visits from traditional restaurants.
“Those supermarket meal sales are growing at double-digit rates for lunch, and also growing for dinner at rates much higher than for the industry overall,” Riggs said, citing Whole Foods Market and Mariano’s Fresh Market.
Protein prices. An expected rise in beef prices and lower chicken prices will be reflected in menu offerings.
“You’ll see an increased focus on other proteins because of the high cost of beef,” Riggs said.
Population shifts and diversity impacts on menus. The influence of the growing U.S. Hispanic population is reflected in the increased popularity of fruits, juice drinks and more flavorful spices and seasonings, NPD said. And the growing Asian population carries its influence on menus, as well, with noodles, rice, specialty sauces, and other foods and flavors.
Strong baby boomer and senior spending. Boomers and their older counterparts have been less affected by prolonged high unemployment and the recession, NPD reported.
“These individuals have continued to visit restaurants at an ever-increasing rate,” NPD said. “While their food and beverage preferences may differ from those of the younger set, many older consumers are bringing their ‘younger’ preferences with them.”
Changing incentives. Paper coupons gave way years ago to tiered pricing strategies, combo meal offers, sweepstakes and value menu items. With greater online availability, coupons are again popular, NPD said, but loyalty rewards are also increasing.
“Going forward, rotating offers and creating new ways to entice consumers to visit must be a part of any operator’s marketing plan,” NPD said.
Mobile technology. Mobile devices continue to grow as important tools for consumers, who expect most of their needs to be met with the devices, NPD said. Consumers’ use of mobile devices for ordering and paying for meals and reporting on the meal experience will continue to grow.
Healthful menu offerings. Consumers’ interest in healthful meal options is tied to the health needs of boomers and older individuals, the growth in ethnic groups accustomed to fresh food preparation, and greater awareness of the need for and benefits of healthful eating among younger patrons. As an example, NPD found a growing number of consumers who prefer gluten-free foods, not because of required dietary restrictions, but because of the benefits of overall more healthful eating.
Fine-dining strength. “Fine dining, from our view, has fully recovered from the recession and is growing,” NPD said.
The segment will continue to offer more casual décor and accept casual attire.
New concepts. NPD said the industry can expect more innovation from new concepts, such as Houston-based My Fit Foods, with more than 60 units, and Chicago-based Lyfe Kitchen, with four units. Both address the interest in fresh and healthful food, as well as portion options.
“This plays into giving consumers more choices and healthier options,” Riggs said. “These concepts allow consumers to buy different sized portions: small-, medium- and large-sized. You can eat very healthy. There’s a lot of innovation and flavor profiles in those offerings.”
In this article from Full-Service Restaurant Magazine, Heather Larson discusses the importance of planning ahead to meet staffing needs for the business holiday season.
Ultimately, you must plan to overstaff for each holiday your restaurant stays open. That’s the best way to keep your customers happy. Should the volume of diners dwindle, you can always send workers home early. Also, if you have more staff on hand, if one or two don’t show, you won’t be stranded.
Many restaurants close Christmas & new Years Day eliminating some of the anxiety surrounding which employees should get time off. But the evening before each of those holidays also seems to be a popular time for families to dine out.
Who Should Work?
Jason Chadwick, co-owner of Restaurant Rehab, a restaurant consulting business in Kansas City, recommends scheduling all your key employees on holidays. They effectively run the dining room and won’t make the same mistakes lesser-experienced staff might.
At the Wilshire Restaurant in Santa Monica, where modern California cuisine highlights the menu, workers can take time off around the holidays. Whoever asks earliest gets first consideration.
“Time off is also based on production,” says Clint Clausen, director of operations. “I will give a server with the highest sales days off over someone who has worked here for eight years, but has the lowest sales.”
Some establishments schedule workers for certain days throughout the year, so as an example Server A works every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If a holiday falls on one of those days, she knows she’ll be working. If she wants to trade, that’s okay.
The last alternative allows for no time off during the holidays. This is typically how hotel restaurants handle staffing.
Is More Pay an Incentive?
“Usually the majority of the staff want to work because it’s a good time to make money,” says Chadwick.
At the two restaurants at the Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, Washington, if you work full time and you come in on a holiday then you earn eight hours paid time off (pto), says Shannon Galusha, culinary director for Seattle-based Columbia Hospitality, which oversees 15 properties throughout the West, including the Salish Lodge.
Even if the restaurant itself doesn’t pay extra for holidays, most diners feel the holiday spirit and in general tip better than normal.
Plan, Plan, and Plan
If you don’t know how many servers and hostesses you’ll need, do some research. Look at last year’s reservations to see which days and time slots consistently filled and which didn’t.
Tanya Chadwick, Jason’s wife and co-owner of Restaurant Rehab, says get in front of your scheduling for the end of the year now. Use all the avenues you can to let people know you’ll be open on Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.
“Reach out to those who made reservations with you last year and ask them to come back,” says Tanya. “Tell them what you’ll be serving so they can inform their party. This personal touch is sure to get you repeat customers.”
If you’re going to need extra help for the holidays, hire them now and get them trained, Tanya says. Don’t wait until the last minute when there’s very little time to train. Also if you employ college students in the summer, now’s the time to ask them to work the holidays.
“Whatever you do, be consistent. Don’t close early,” says Galusha who has 14 years of restaurant experience. “Customers return to your restaurant based on past experiences.”
In this article from Food Republic by Jon Katz, get inspired with tasty craft beers, perfect for this classic holiday. Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays centered on food, and while the turkey may be the star of the show, all too often there’s a tendency to forget about proper pairings. While wine or liquor certainly have their benefits, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect complimentary flavor than the maltiness of beer with the iconic heartiness of Thanksgiving dishes — the sweetness of sweet potatoes with marshmallow, the tartness of cranberry sauce, the breadiness of the stuffing and of course, the juiciness of the turkey.
While beer is slowly earning its due as a perfect food pairing, especially with diverse spreads like a Thanksgiving feast, this is your chance to surprise everyone by matching each course with a different type of beer. It’s not an easy task (the shelves are flooded with winter and fall seasonals), but keep it simple and you’ll nail it. Here are the beers you should pair with Thanksgiving dinner.
1. Harpoon Brewery: Grateful Harvest Cranberry Ale
There’s always that “waiting period” when the food isn’t quite ready — someone undoubtedly forgot to put the bird in on time — so you want something to help curb the guests’ appetite without diminishing it. This beer is a perfect way to welcome guests while getting your taste buds ready for turkey and fixins, with its sweet maltiness and hint of fresh cranberry tartness.
2. The Bruery: Autumn Maple
Yes, pumpkin beers are still hanging around, but try something a little more in-line with the meal. If you want some real Thanksgiving flavors, this beer has them all: yams, molasses, maple syrup and spices lend themselves to prepping your palate. It’s not overly sweet and would be delicious with the big meal, but I prefer it with candied nuts and other rich bites that are served pre-feast.
3. Brewery Ommegang: Scythe and Sickle
This is one of my favorite seasonal beers and it’s just perfect for Thanksgiving. The amber ale is packed with malty goodness from rye and oat flakes and tastes similar to a mashup of the bready maltiness of brown ale with the spiciness of a saison from Ommegang’s fantastic Belgian yeast. It’s perfect for hearty side dishes, but it also won’t overwhelm the succulent flavors of the turkey.
4. Brasserie Dupont: Saison Dupont
With so many incredible farmhouse ales coming out of the U.S., it’s easy to forget about the Belgians that inspired them. Many have high levels of wild yeast which won’t necessarily tickle every palate at the table, but here we have a truly pleasing Belgian classic: a rustic, spicy saison with a delicious citrus fruitiness. It’s dry with a beautiful, delicate champagne-like carbonation and enough bready malt to balance things out. This would pair well with any turkey, but at 6.5% ABV it would definitely cut the fat of crazier variations – turducken, I’m looking at you.
5. Founders Brewing Company: Breakfast Stout
Despite how much we battle against it, eating as much tryptophan-laced bird as one does on Turkey Day, it’s just really difficult to stay awake and digest after a massive meal. If you find yourself on the verge of nodding off, a little breakfast stout is what you need to push on through the dessert course. A variety of coffee and chocolate added to the brew results in something you could probably call dessert on its own, but is absolutely delicious with cake or pie! Serve this on the warmer side of cool and watch as even professed stout haters fall in love.
6. De Struise Brouwers: Pannepot Old Fisherman’s Ale
Beers from De Struise tend to be somewhat harder to locate but we’ve given you a few days’ head start – so here’s your assignment! Belgian quads are perfect as a digestif to help kick back from all the food you just ate. This one is huge at 10% ABV but it’s absolutely delicious – spicy and roasty with tons of dark fruits like raisins and figs, and just a touch of booziness. Complex and one of the best examples of a quad you can try – treat yourself for the holiday!
For more thanksgiving inspiration, check out our Pinterest page!
Thanksgiving is full of delicious food, but don’t overlook the drink possibilities for this festive holiday! Check out this Mashable cocktail list from Brooklyn bartender and food blogger Mallory Lance of Mallory’s Kitchen to turn a turkey dinner into unique cocktails for your guests.
Turkey Rosemary Whiskey
Wild Turkey rye, muddled turkey bouillon, brown sugar cubes, bitters, lemon juice, rosemary simple syrup, thyme.
Muddle 1/2 teaspoon of turkey bouillon and one brown sugar cube with a couple dashes of bitters. Add 1/2 ounce lemon juice, 1/2 oz. rosemary clove simple syrup*, and 2 oz. Wild Turkey Rye. Shake vigorously over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a sprig or two of thyme.
*Rosemary Clove Simple Syrup: Combine 1 cup white sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 1 1/4 cups water in a saucepan. Add two to three sprigs of fresh rosemary and 1 tsp. whole cloves. Stir well, bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain out the rosemary and cloves and store in a glass bottle with a fresh sprig of rosemary.
Green Bean Gimlet
Hendrick’s gin, haricot verts (French green beans), lime juice, simple syrup*, haricot vert, almond slivers.
Muddle three raw haricot verts until nearly liquefied and add to a cocktail shaker. Add 1 oz. simple syrup, 1 oz. fresh lime juice and 2 oz. gin. Add ice, shake and strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with two haricot verts and almond slivers.
*Simple Syrup: Combine equal parts water and white sugar in a small sauce pan, heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool before using.
Buttery Potato Cocktail
Potato vodka, puréed potatoes, unsalted butter, salt, dill, black pepper.
Directions: Peel and chop one baking potato into one-inch cubes. Place in a small pot and add enough water to submerge potatoes. Boil until tender.
Strain out most of the water, reserving about 1/4 cup and purée the potatoes completely in a blender or with an immersion blender. Add 2 tbsp. of butter and salt to taste. Allow to cool. In a cocktail shaker, add 2 oz. potato vodka and 2 heaping teaspoons of potato puree. Add ice and shake vigorously until the glass is frosty. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with dill and black pepper.
Spiced Butternut Squash Whiskey
Whiskey, butternut squash purée, apple purée, rosemary clove simple syrup, lemon, rosemary.
Peel and chop half of a small butternut squash and half an apple into one-inch cubes. Place squash in a small pot and add enough water to cover it. Boil until tender.
Strain out most of the water, reserving about 1/4 cup. purée the squash and apple completely using either a standing blender or an immersion blender. Stir in 2 tsp. brown sugar and allow to cool completely.
In a cocktail shaker, add 2 oz whiskey, one heaping teaspoon of butternut squash apple puree, 1 oz. rosemary clove simple syrup and 1 oz. lemon juice. Shake and strain into a saucer and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Cranberry Sauce Tequila
Tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, Cointreau triple sec, cranberry juice, whole cranberries.
If making cranberry juice from scratch: Add 2 cups fresh cranberries, 2 cups water, an orange peel and 1/2 cup sugar to a pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain out cranberries and allow to cool completely.
In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 oz. tequila, 1 oz. lime juice, 1/2 oz. simple syrup, 1/2 oz. Cointreau and 1 oz. cranberry juice. Shake and strain into a saucer and garnish with cranberries. Feel free to add crushed ice if you’d like.
Pumpkin Pie Old Fashioned
Add 2 oz. bourbon, 3/4 oz. pumpkin spice syrup and a few dashes of aromatic bitters to a Boston shaker. Stir with a bar spoon for one full minute, then strain over a large ice cube. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Latte (non-alcoholic)
Freshly brewed espresso, pumpkin spice syrup
, milk, cinnamon, whipped cream topping (optional).
Brew the espresso, using a french press if possible. Use 4 tablespoons of ground espresso to 2/3 cups water for two lattes. Steam the milk. Pour the espresso and pumpkin spice syrup into the steamed milk and add a dash of cinnamon to the top.
Need help managing all these fabulous recipes? Try MenuMax and see why we’re the best in the industry! Call us today at 1-877-MENUMX or email us at Max@MenuMax.com
A toasty warm version of a traditional style carrot soup, perfect for the thanksgiving holiday. Try this recipe from Food52.com
for a flavorful soup.
- 6 to 8large carrots (about 1 3/4 pounds)
- 1/4cup olive oil
- 6cups vegetable stock (good quality, not too high in sodium)
- 1piece ginger, an inch long, peeled
- 1sprig thyme, plus more for garnish
- 1/2large sweet onion, chopped
- 2large garlic cloves, chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Peel and cut the carrots into 1/2-inch rounds. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the carrots with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt. Set an oven rack 6 to 8 inches from the heat source and turn on the broiler. Broil the carrots until they brown and soften, turning them over with a spatula every 5 minutes or so; this should take 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring the stock to a boil, add the ginger and the sprig of thyme and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
- Put the onion in a medium stock pot with the remaining olive oil. Brown the onion over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, and then add the carrots.
- Remove the ginger and thyme from the stock and add the stock to the pot with the onions and carrots. Bring to boil and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the carrots are soft enough to puree.
- Use an immersion or a standard blender to puree the mixture until smooth. If the soup seems too thick, add more stock or water and reheat gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, garnish with chopped fresh thyme.
Check out our Pinterest page for more Thanksgiving inspiration and soup ideas.
This fun twist on the classic turkey staple is perfect for this holiday season! If you’re looking for something different this year, try this recipe for Roast Turkey Soup from SeriousEats.com
- 2 quarts low sodium store-bought or home-made chicken or turkey stock
- 1 leftover roast turkey carcass, cut into rough chunks
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2- buy 1/2- by 1/4-inch batons (optional)
- 1 large onion, finely sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 2 medium carrots, diced medium (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3 ribs celery, sliced at a bias (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 pound leftover roast turkey meat, roughly torn into bite-sized pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
Combine stock, turkey parts, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, and cook for 1 hour. Strain broth into a medium saucepan and discard solids.
Add bacon, onions, carrots, and celery. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in turkey pieces and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and serve.