The Seasonality of Food


The seasonality of food. Here’s a quote from Michael O’Leary: “At the moment the ice is free, but if we could find a way of targeting a price on it, we would”

Most of us are familiar with the business model that he operates. Low cost, basically translating to very good value, if you travel at certain times .For me this involves knowing when to travel, avoiding the busy seasons &planning.

Let’s imagine a restaurant or a bar run by Michael and based on the principles of seasonality, planning and maximizing profit. From the hip, Michael “seasonality”, buy only what’s in season, know the seasons, plan around the seasons & be more profitable by following the seasons, Easy or not? How many kitchens operate this model? How many restaurants, hoteliers or pub owners follow this model?

We can split seasonality into two models–the seasons for fruit, vegetables, fish, game, meat etc & holiday, Christmas, special occasions such as mother’s day, valentine’s day and the rest.

Seasonality of food is the model I want to look at. How does a business use this on their menus? Are menus put together, planned, costed & structured around buying at the best price, when in season.

Have you looked at your fruit & vegetable supplier’s invoices?

  • Are you using peppers during the winter months, from January to March the price will double sometimes treble.
  • Can you use vegetables like parsnips, turnips, kale, cabbage, butternut squash, etc. your supplier can source locally available, in season.
  • The same principle applies to fruit & berries (which double in price out of season).

Seasonality of produce makes economic sense & thus more profit on your food.

  • Talk to your fish supplier ask them to provide monthly list of what’s available & in season. Look at mackerel, red gurnard, Pollack, megrim, great value, at their peak, fresher, tastier & will hold better.
  • Food seasons will give you an opportunity to purchase from local business & they will eat in your premises & support your business.
  • Seasonality and local produce is about finding that balance between the skill to produce dishes and just adding tag lines to your menu, it has to work for you & your customers

Seasonality isn’t exclusive. Get your team familiar with seasonal produce talk to suppliers. Speak to a group or business that is already doing this.

Imagine a Ryanair restaurant do you think you’d be eating tomatoes, strawberries or “spring lamb” in early January? I bet Michael O’Leary would serve a profitable seasonal menu in his Ryanair restaurant.

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