Recall when farm-to-table was an extra buzzy phrase? The recent consumer emphasis on the environment, sustainability, animal wellness, and general healthfulness has made that concept seem a bit like old news. Now, everyone has a sourcing story – where and how they get their produce, dairy, protein, and dry goods is on menu boards and all over social media. These days, sourcing equals sales.
During the holiday season, the spotlight on sourcing feels even brighter. Patrons eagerly discuss where their fish was caught, how their pasta was crafted, what farm raised the livestock for their steak, what mountain communities harvested their coffee beans. These have become festive talking points for takeout family dinners at home or catered events. Certainly, if guests plan to spend during a night out on the town, they might have some interest in a rare, imported wine or the most tender, marbled pork that the industry has to offer.
The Source is the Story
Sourcing can provide stories that help you rise above holiday competition. It can make guests and your restaurant feel special during a special season. Sourcing can add a branding punch – your restaurant becomes known for serving a certain cut of meat or a creative, comfort side that has blown up on social. These stories give your waitstaff more tools in their service bag to upsell as well.
And with innovative, technological strides in the harvesting, sourcing, packing, and processing arenas, it’s never been easier to access the highest quality items. Even frozen and ready-to-serve products reduce stress on your staff, while remaining fresh and flavorful. It gives you far more control over your expenses and offers flexibility with menu pricing.
COP, Yeah You Know Me
It’s no surprise that center-of-plate takes center stage around this time of year. Turkey, beef, seafood, and pork are among the most popular main attractions. They can be served traditionally or creatively. Sourcing provides a window into how farms and fisheries raise these animals. But it’s not just how they are treated that matters; the quality and taste of a dish depends on a number of factors, including genetics, diet, living conditions, and healthcare.
Braveheart® Black Angus Beef, for example, uses an exclusive PathProven® process that establishes a link between each animal and each and every cut of meat. It ensures that the product is majority Black Angus and it includes strict standards for feeding, health, and humane treatment. The result is stunning excellence in taste, quality, trim, and consistency – the details that often inspire guests to book a holiday table.
Featuring in-demand healthy properties, versatility, and malleable flavors that pair well with sauces, spices, and sides, fish is gaining ground on the holiday entrée front. But it matters where the fish is caught and how it’s packaged on the way to restaurants; for consumers, the story is crucial. Consider Bay Winds® Seafood: the fish in this portfolio is all natural and sourced from prime, sustainable locations around the world. Some species are found in the unique marine environment that feeds off the Kuroshio and Oyashio currents north of Japan. Others are caught near Antarctica and Spain by fishing masters with lineages that go back generations.
A Little Holiday History
Holiday traditions are based around historical events and stories. Thanksgiving, after all, is embedded in American historical significance. It makes sense, then, that diners might want to connect their own holiday experiences and traditions to food with its own rich sourcing history.
Take the Roma® brand, which traces its roots to Bradley Beach, N.J., in 1955, and even further back to Italian origins. Roma founder Louis G. Piancone was a young man steeped in Old World culinary traditions when he arrived in the U.S. As a result, what began as a small neighborhood deli grew into one of the most widely recognized Italian brands in the country. In fact, Roma and Mr. P’s namesake brand, Piancone®, still source olive oil, cheese, tomatoes, and more, directly from authentic Italian artisans.
Sourcing is about so much more than where restaurants get their food. It helps to tell an inspiring story from the earliest parts of the process to your patrons’ plates, and it enables consumers to connect directly with the food they order. This holiday season, let sourcing put a spring in your sales step.