The Need to Offer More Than Just Great Food in 2021

Commercial Director of Wanis International Foods (www.wanis.com), George Phillips talks about why venues need to offer more than great food in 2021.

The closing of restaurants during the pandemic and the restrictions that still follow saw a step-change in which consumers were welcomed back, whether willingly or less so, to the delights of their own kitchens. The unstoppable behemoths that are Just Eat, Uber Eats and Deliveroo, together with many consumers’ new-found experience of cooking for themselves 7 days a week, has resulted in customers becoming accustomed to eating their favourite restaurant food in the comfort of their homes.This means venues need to work that much harder to get customers through the door, and while many are already rising to the challenge, there is perhaps some unintended assistance from the Foreign Secretary.

2021 is fast becoming the year of the staycation due to the confusion and frustration of the ever-changing foreign travel traffic light system. This presents a fantastic opportunity for venues to capitalise on a captive audience this summer by creating experiences that drive footfall.

As the adage says: “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain”, which is why creating a staycation experience within your venue could be a real money spinner this year.

Rather than going with the obvious such a Spanish theme with paella and sangria, think outside the box to offer your clientele something a little more exotic, such as a Caribbean-themed Staycation experience.

The growing popularity of the bottomless brunch shows no signs of slowing down and customers seem to be willing to pay a little bit more for an experience that is worthy of posting on their social media feed, particularly after being starved of this during lockdowns. Dress up the room and create interesting Caribbean themed backdrops for customers, not forgetting inflatable palm trees for their ubiquitous selfies, which also has the added benefit of promoting your venue via their social media platforms. Download a suitable playlist from Spotify and you’re good to go.

Set menus work really well within this space and help simplify the offering for the kitchen.You don’t need specialist staff to create exciting dishes with a Caribbean flavour, just look to Tropical Sun, one of the brands in our portfolio, for ingredients, seasonings and condiments together with a selection of authentic recipes that can very easily help you create a real taste of the Caribbean. Everything you need from genuine Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, Ackee and Callaloo to herbs and spices, sauces, rice, beans, soft drinks and imported beers are all here under one roof.

BOTTOMLESS CARIBBEAN STAYCATION BRUNCH:

Starter: Mango and prawn cocktail – just add a dash of Tropical Sun Papaya Hot Pepper sauce and some chopped mango to a traditional prawn cocktail.
Main: Jerk chicken with rice and peas – use Tropical Sun jerk marinade for instant jerk chicken and cook long grain rice with red kidney beans and coconut milk for the classic Rice & Peas. Jerk Jackfruit is a delicious vegan alter- native.

Dessert: Mango and Coconut cheesecake
Bottomless rum punch – made by mixing 1-part unbranded rum to 4-parts Tropical Vibes fruit punch.
There is also an opportunity to up-sell side dishes such as fried plantain, sweet potato fries and macaroni cheese.

The menu example above is both easy to prepare and keep during the day while offering customers both an experience some of the vibrant, sunshine flavours of the Caribbean. After all, there is some truth in another adage: “You are what you eat”. All the ingredients for these and so many more World Food dishes are stocked at Wanis International Foods, so please do visit us either in person at our East London Cash and Carry, online or order via our dedicated telesales team and let us help you make the ‘Staycation’ a ‘Vacation’.

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