Making deliveries whilst maintaining your style
Once again, the hospitality industry is being seriously challenged by the coronavirus, with restaurants around the world at risk of being forced to close. Have you thought about providing deliveries or takeaways to compensate for lost revenue? And how do you ensure that your cooking style is not affected and remains distinctively recognisable? Can you transform your best-sellers from the plate to a takeaway container? We'll help you find a solution and give you valuable tips from some of the chefs in our network who have already done exactly this.
New opportunities in times of restriction
When the restaurant industry went into lockdown the first time, many chefs and restaurants started offering meals and menus as takeaways out of pure necessity. But when the restaurants and cafés were allowed to reopen, their takeaway and delivery ambitions were almost immediately shelved again.
However, now that your restaurant has had to close once more, it is certainly worth looking at whether your takeaway menu could be an alternative sales generator! It remains essential, however, to think carefully about how to adapt and pack a meal and what instructions and tips you give those buying it. Because not only do you want to generate revenue, you also want to advertise your cooking!
In the microwave!
How do you tackle this? Packing all the components of your dishes in disposables is one thing, but what your guests do with the food is another. Before you know it, they'll be heating up your carefully prepared Beef Wellington in the microwave and this won't help you sleep any better. Regeneration is an art in itself and one which you must pass on to your guests. Carefully write down what they need to do to heat something up and bear in mind that they have different equipment from you. Try to consider things from your guest's perspective and make sure that you minimise the time they need to spend in the kitchen.
Meal kit tips from top chefs
Dick Middelweerd and his team at De Treeswijkhoeve** in Waalre (Netherlands) has put a great deal of thought into accompanying notes containing instructions and presentation tips. They are even using QR codes now with links to preparation videos.
During the previous lockdown, Bas van Kranen from Bord’Eau* restaurant in Amsterdam (Netherlands) chose to use different coloured stickers on containers. The stickers indicated what needed to be heated up, what needed to be placed in the refrigerator, and what could be prepared at room temperature. People at home could see at a glance precisely what needed to be done.
Nik Tonglet, our own Test Kitchen chef, has acquired a lot of experience in creating a rational plan for menus and meal kits. He says: 'Make sure you have a well-thought-out plan. Make clever use of long-lasting components such as crisps, gels, preserved products, and preparations that can be stored in the freezer for some time, all the while never losing sight of a perfect end result.'
The main conclusion is that it is essential to think ahead, not only with regard to the planning and production in your kitchen but also to the plating of your dish in your guest's home.
Respect for your creation
Not all the components of the dishes you serve in your restaurant are suitable for preparing at home. But if you have a great combination, such as 'Duck with carrot and pumpkin', try and find components of these that are easy for your guests to prepare and heat up. There is always an alternative that is better suited for preparation at home. A few minor adjustments are all that are needed to keep your carefully made creation intact.
Below are three variations of the above combination as an example:
- Duck breast smoked and cooked sous vide – pumpkin compote – earthy carrots with white truffle.
- Duck breast confit with crispy skin – roasted pumpkin purée – deep-fried carrots.
- Duck breast cooked in hay – pumpkin oil – pumpkin toffee – braised carrot cores.
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