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It’s a small world

It’s a small world

Street food trends and alfresco dining are going to soar this Christmas and into 2022 as we continue to emerge out of the pandemic.

Whilst some diners may be reluctant to return to buffets, tapas style small plates provide an ideal opportunity to enjoy and share a range of different dishes with your chosen ‘bubble’. For the operator, they can also be a lucrative income generator as the relatively low cost per plate can often lead consumers to spend more than they would on a single main course.

Small plates allow chefs the chance to be really creative and switch up their menus on a daily or weekly basis, responding to whatever fresh produce is available to them,” explains Stephen Griffiths, Consultant Chef for Henley Bridge. “The main point behind the concept is to keep it simple and not over complicate your offerings. You could choose to champion local, sustainable producers, highlighting the provenance and reduced food miles of your dishes. Always remember to cater well for vegetarian and vegan customers, as well as gluten-free and other food allergies and intolerances.

From a workload perspective, small plates require less elements and therefore need less preparation time, which is a big win during the busy festive season.

You could also introduce contactless ordering and payment to reduce staff contact further.

Consumers are looking for sharing dishes which bridge a wide variety of flavours, colours and cultures, continues Stephen. Informal dining is an ongoing trend and helps to create a vibrant party atmosphere in your venue.

It’s a concept that is easily adapted to takeaway too, which will appeal to customers who are still not quite ready to eat out in an enclosed busy environment. It could even be rolled out for a new style of office Christmas party.

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