InFISHigate This Underrated Menu Choice
March 15, 2017 2:18am
By Larry Mogelonsky, MBA, P. Eng. (www.lma.ca)
As health eating takes the world by storm, many people are adopting strict or esoteric diets that are becoming commonplace in any urban area. Vegetarians, vegans, paleo, raw diet – all must be appeased. As a staunch meat-lover, I can’t fully grasp those who stave off cow and lamb entirely. But if I had to, I could give up red meat and poultry, but never fish.
There are so many regional varieties and flavors of fish that I simply couldn’t go without getting my krill fill each and every week. It’s a fantastic protein compromise on the spectrum of striploin to tempeh. Smack full of omega-3 fatty acids, it’s also rather healthy (barring any heavy metal buildup). While pescatarians – those whose diets allow them to eat fish on top of what’s inscribed by vegetarianism – are a still budding market segment, the real reason for incorporating more seafood into the menu is to allow your chefs to get creative.
It’s not fish and chips or some other battered and deep-fried iteration, but think raw combined with cooked. And it’s not just salmon or tilapia, but mahi-mahi, grouper, seabass, cod or even fancy naming changes like langoustine. Fusion sushi works great for appetizers or a tapas-style menu, while serving a nice cut of a local species as a main is yet another way to flesh out that authentic experience. A ‘catch of the day’ program is a great way to add some flair while there are quite a few forms of fish soup, chowder or bisque that are hard to say no to as an appetizer when none would have been ordered otherwise. And then just the other day, I was hearing about a photo of sushi burgers breaking Instagram.
The point is that there’s no excuse not to offer some great fish alternatives – note the pluralization – on your menu. Understandably, this may not fit the core theme of certain niche eateries like a Texas BBQ smokehouse, but fish can nevertheless be smoked or charred to succulent perfection when the right person is watching the grill. Make fish abundant on your menu and watch your satisfaction grow!
In addition to all the fun your chefs might have, there’s also the sustainability issue and the need for hotels to adopt more social responsibility programs. Cattle may be grass fed instead of grain, but this doesn’t erase the fact they are tremendous greenhouse gas contributors. Nowadays at least, fishing is a highly regulated industry with ecosystem preservation and sustainability at the forefront. Moreover, aquaculture practices are on rise and are improving with regard to quality. Abiding by these types of sustainability regulations and communicating them to your customers will serve to win over their hearts and minds...as well as their stomachs.
Finally, there are few other odds and ends to consider when amplifying your menu’s pelagic prowess.
While everyone is familiar with buying locally sourced foods, there’s the emerging trend of invasive eating which mostly pertains to just fish. That is, instead of catching and selling those species which are native to an area, we should only be eating those that were unnaturally introduced to the environment. Asian carp running rampant in the Mississippi is one such example; even though it’s slimy sucker that’s hard to debone, if everyone was munching them, they may not be a problem for that much longer.
Next, despite all the cooking tutorials available on a free video streaming channel near you, a vast number of people still don’t know how to properly prepare a fish dish for themselves. Thus, the incentive is there for restaurants to not only serve fish but to offer a morsel of education in the form of tips from the chef in order to enrich the dining experience. Lastly and related to this, while many are always on the lookout for exquisitely prepared fish, most customers understand that the daily catch can be quite costly and they are therefore expecting a premium price tag on the menu.
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Editor’s note: To discuss business challenges or to discuss speaking engagements please contact Larry directly.
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One of the world’s most published writers in hospitality, Larry Mogelonsky is the owner of Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited and the founder of LMA Communications Inc., an award-winning marketing agency based in Toronto. His experience encompasses hotel properties around the world, both branded and independent, and ranging from luxury and boutique to select-service. Larry also sits on several boards for companies focused on hotel technology. His work includes four books, “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012), “Llamas Rule” (2013), “Hotel Llama” (2015) and “The Llama is Inn” (2017). You can reach Larry at email@example.com to discuss hotel business challenges, to inquire about his consulting services or to book speaking engagements.
Contact: Larry Mogelonsky
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