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Winter is in full swing, which means one thing: Comfort food is back in season. As the temperatures change, so should your food offerings — a seasonal menu accommodates customers’ changing taste preferences and gives them extra incentive to drop by your restaurant. Whether you choose beloved cold-weather classics or inventive new dishes, it’s important to select menu items that align with your restaurant’s brand and cuisine.
Need some ideas to inspire your menu updates? We’ve collected some popular winter menu ideas for restaurants to serve as a starting point.
10 winter menu ideas for restaurants
When you’re updating your restaurant menu for the winter season, stick to hearty ingredients and rich flavors. Even if your area doesn’t experience cold weather, you can comfort customers with recipes that incorporate foods such as butternut squash, beef, and potatoes.
- Slow cooker butternut squash soup. This creamy, nutritious soup is a great way for customers to consume their daily serving of vegetables. The best part? You can prepare it in bulk to reduce the strain on the kitchen crew.
- Roast chicken dinner. Is there anything more comforting than roast chicken, mashed potatoes, and veggies? Give this special menu item a British twist by adding Yorkshire pudding and a generous serving of gravy.
- French onion soup. This classic French recipe is loaded with melted cheese and flavorful onions — it’s the perfect pick-me-up on a cold day.
- Individual pot pies. Overflowing with meat and vegetables in a creamy sauce, pot pies are a delicious way to warm up in the winter. Make them with beef, pork, chicken, or turkey, or go gourmet with ingredients such as sweet potatoes, goat cheese, and mushrooms.
- Ramen. If your restaurant serves Asian cuisine, ramen is the ideal addition to your winter menu. Combine steaming-hot chicken broth, fresh herbs, and your customers’ choice of protein for a warm, satisfying entrée. Top it with a soft-boiled egg for an extra pop of flavor.
- Spicy chili. After a day of skiing or commuting in the snow, a big bowl of chili is the perfect comfort food. Make sure to load it up with beans, ground beef, and tomato sauce, and top it with fresh cheddar cheese or sour cream.
- Spicy pot roast with oranges, sweet potatoes and Calabrian chilies. Pot roast is a winter classic; bring it into the 21st century with a recipe that includes a few unexpected ingredients. Just make sure to cook everything low and slow for maximum flavor and tenderness.
- Potato and cheddar cheese soup. Swap out a summery soup with this hearty alternative. It combines two filling ingredients — potatoes and cheese — for a meal that will leave your customers feeling satisfied for hours.
- Beef or chicken soup. Soup is a classic winter menu item, and for good reason: it’s hot, comforting, and packed with nutrients to ward off winter illnesses. Serve a dinner-sized portion of rich beef stew, or make chicken noodle soup with chicken broth, potatoes, pasta, and root vegetables. You can even prepare a batch in an Instant Pot for faster cooking.
- Pork chops and a potato side. When it comes to comfort food, it’s hard to beat a traditional meal of meat and potatoes. Pair marinated, grilled pork chops with scalloped potatoes, mashed potatoes, or a cheese and potato gratin. Add a hearty vegetable such as Brussels sprouts and you have the ideal winter dish.
Making adjustments to your menu: tips and tricks
Seasonal updates are a great way to boost your restaurant’s bottom line during the coldest months of the year. Use these tips to make it easier to create a profitable menu:
- Research the local restaurant industry. Examine your competitors’ winter menus to get an idea of how other successful restaurants approach menu adjustments. This process can spark creative ideas and help you identify popular local ingredients or seasonal flavors.
- Eliminate unpopular items. Go through your winter sales data from past years and look for your lowest-performing dishes. Consider eliminating these items from your restaurant menu for the cold weather season — it’ll reduce food waste and make space for more profitable winter menu items. If the entrées in question perform well in the warmer months, you can always bring them back for spring and summer outdoor dining.
- Ensure the menu is clear and easy to read. Make your customers’ lives easier with a clean design and large fonts. This is particularly important if your restaurant has a dark ambiance or an older clientele; it helps people read the menu without taking out their reading glasses.
- Embrace clear menu pricing. Are your servers constantly answering questions about prices? That’s a sign you might need to change the presentation. When pricing is clear and transparent, customers know exactly what to expect when the bill comes. As a bonus, this strategy will also reduce the workload for your servers.
Editing your online menu is a breeze with Grubhub
Changing your menu takes effort, but it can pay off in increased revenue and customer engagement. With Grubhub, the process is quick and easy — you can make changes to your online menu in a few easy steps:
- Log in to your Grubhub for Restaurants account.
- Open the Menu screen.
- View, edit, and add menu items by category.
Whether you’re adding a few entrées or doing a complete overhaul, it’s a breeze to get your winter menu ready for takeout and delivery customers. To learn more, sign up for more restaurant insights today.