Flavour of June: Winter Warmers

Jun 28, 2016

Winter has well and truly set in – the scarves, gloves and brisk mornings are in full force. Hot drinks and heaters are the flavour of the month so let’s take a look at what the hospitality industry has planned for the season, and what it can do to make sure customer traffic is as high as thermostats are being set.

The biggest risk during winter is how cold weather affects the chances of customers wanting to go out. Dimmi, the booking platform, noted that during the recent Sydney storms over the weekend of 4 – 5 June, the cancellation rate for reservations increased a whopping 40% compared to the previous weekend. The previous year’s storm had a similar effect, with a 41% cancellation rate over the weekend.

So, with weather being the greatest enemy, what are some of Australia’s restaurants and cafés to prove that a meal out is the cure for all colds?

Trying something completely different works – the likes of +39 Pizzeria and Tokyo Tina (both in Melbourne) have proven that ice-cream cones can come in all forms (even if it’s not sweet), with their recently debuted savoury flavours.

Tokyo Tina has a Kingfish, Wasabi, Apple & Charcoal Cone, while +39 takes it to the sea with fried calamari, zucchini and chilli mayo cone. Seafood ice-cream isn’t exactly your first thought when it comes to a treat, but a strike out of the ordinary doesn’t just intrigue customers, it creates a fantastic reason for diners to go out and get something they couldn’t anywhere else.

Some suppliers create products specifically for winter – for instance, Little Creatures bring out a whole new beer specifically for the colder months. Brewed to have a lower ABV (alcohol by volume), it’s crafted specifically for drinking in colder temperatures. With the increase in customer awareness of the craft beer market, restaurants offering specific brews such as Little Creatures appear on trend and in demand. By creating dishes that pair well, venues are offering a specific experience that diners would not be able to get anywhere else during winter.

It’s also important to help your customers get comfortable – winter is synonymous with being cosy, so offering comfort food in a warm, inviting setting will be all customers could need to forget the toast and tea on the couch and settle at your venue.

Classic winter tastes – such as chestnuts, hearty tomato based soups or lashings of cream, hot cheese or potato can be more than enough to get taste-buds salivating and customers on the hunt for the perfect place serving those classics. This is as much about flavours as it is about setting – so ways that you can incorporate changes to assimilate to the season makes the dining experience that much more exciting.

Winter provides ample opportunity to tap into the senses and create delicious reasons for customers leave the house. Whether it’s turning dessert basics on their head or creating dining areas fit for languid winter feasts, winter is the season to set tastebuds tingling.

Fine Food Australia, taking place in September this year, will provide a plethora of exhibitors who can cater to and assist you in creating the perfect winter menu or setting. Register online for free entry and save the $30 door charge.

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