Posted on January 17 2018
According to the 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 54 percent of adults say they look for limited-service restaurants that serve locally sourced food, while 46 percent say an important factor is the availability of organic or environmentally friendly food. Start small when incorporating local or seasonal ingredients on menus. Here are some tips to help:
Go to farmers markets, recommends Chef Thomas Schultz, Executive Chef at Superior Culinary Center, in St Francis WI. If the vendors don’t have the ingredients you want, they will tell you who does, he says. The top trend in the restaurant industry today is the use of locally sourced ingredients. You need to know the ins and outs of this production process and its effect on business and menus if you want to enter a culinary or restaurant career.
Food that is locally sourced integrates production, processing, distribution and consumption on a small scale. These sourcing factors are divided by short location distance and ecology.
Where corporate production involves a series of far-away producers and shippers, local food cuts the middlemen in favor of local producers no more than 100 miles away.
Local food measured as an ecological unit, on the other hand, is grouped based on common climate, soil, watershed, and agro systems called “ecoregions.” But distance still matters — most food isn’t locally sourced if it travels across a giant state with similar weather like Texas.
Local food is popular because consumers are interested in knowing where food comes from and how its production affects the economy, the nutritional value and taste of food, and the environment. Because farmers markets and agro co-ops tend to be more personable (and sometimes more accessible) than big brand producers, people get more access to truthful food information.
- Develop a sustainable food supply by working with growers associations and cheese-maker guilds.
- Check out the competition. Explore other restaurants’ menus that list food sources.
- Edit your menu. The smaller the menu, the easier it is to cook seasonally.
- Manage customer expectations. Know what to say when customers complain if a favorite dish is out of season and no longer on the menu. It’s not always easy to explain that the parsnips they had one day might not be available the following week, says Chef Tom