Most of the time, when people come in for something to go, they want to have options for food as well, and when customers come in for a meeting, catch-up with friends or even for a quiet moment to work or reflect, they want something tasty to have along with their beverage.
With all the possibilities out there, how do you choose what to put on your menu?
First of all, you need to consider a few things:
- What is your kitchen setup?
- How long will it take to prepare the food?
- How complicated is each dish?
- How easy/difficult is it to stock up on the ingredients?
- And most importantly, how likely are your customers to order each item?
To make things a bit easier for you, here are some menu suggestions we have that will please any customer and cater to any occasion.
Grab and go
Make sure that you have a good selection of items that your customers can easily grab and go. Many people run into their favourite coffee shop to get their morning or midday fix, and having food that they can easily carry out with them will always be a plus.
Ensure you have a variety of sweet and savoury food, so they will always find something no matter their mood.
It makes sense to have a good selection for breakfast as many people enjoy grabbing their first (second or third) cup in the morning at their favourite cafe.
For those on the run, breakfast sandwiches, croissants, breakfast wraps, bagels and bagel sandwiches, and pastries like cinnamon buns, doughnuts, etc. are great to have.
For those who have more time to sit down and have a leisurely breakfast with their morning cup of joe, you can offer eggs-benedict, french toast and quiche with a side of veggies or fruit.
Make sure you have healthy options such as yogurt and granola, fruit cups and perhaps even overnight oats for those who prefer lighter fare to start their day. The great thing about these is that they are fairly easy to prepare even ahead of time.
- Breakfast burritos
- Hash brown sandwich (Use hash browns instead of bread)
- Egg cups
- Biscuit doughnuts
- Avocado toast
- Cinnamon Buns topped with candied bacon
- Breakfast pizza
- Specialty bread with jams/spread
For your customers who stroll in for lunch or dinner, you can have items such as soups, sandwiches and salads. All of which can be prepared beforehand and heated once ordered.
Pasta is also a great option for you to have; you can have your sauces premade and add a few touches to keep them fresh and tasty. Think outside the box and offer charcuterie sets and maybe even tapas.
You can find many options that are easy to prepare but are versatile enough to excite your customers.
- Po’boy sandwich
- Special burgers
- Buddha bowls
- Hummus plates/sandwiches
- Charcuterie board
- Mini calzones
To keep your menu fresh and exciting, create daily or weekly specials. You can also have a special holiday and seasonal themed food and drinks.
You can do a soup of the day or a special meal that is only available one week a month. Not only will this keep your customers coming back for more, but they will also come back just to see what unique offer you have running at any given time.
This is also a great way to test items you want to put on your menu to see how popular they will be before deciding to put them on the menu permanently.
- Soup/salad/sandwich combos
- Special full meal
- Three-course meal special
- Happy hour (half-off certain treats during a time period)
Pastries and coffee are almost synonymous with one another. Many people enjoy decadent baked goods with their coffee. Having a delicious selection of cakes, cookies, brownies, even doughnuts and a plethora of other goodies, both sweet and savoury, is quite essential to your cafe. It can even be your menu’s sole focus.
Pastries are extremely versatile, and the possibilities are incredible. They, too, are extremely convenient as they can be made ahead of time.
- Artisanal bread
- Unique pies
- Mini tarts
- Sticky buns
- Soft pretzels
Make your cafe menu more inclusive by offering foods that are specifically for people with special dietary concerns.
Having a few plant-based, kosher, halal, and other food types will make more people want to go to your cafe. Make sure to take into account nut-free, gluten-free and dairy-free options as well.
Ensure that your staff is aware of ingredients in your food so they can inform your customers. Having an inclusive menu will make more people want to go to your cafe.
If you want to have great options but don’t want the hassle of preparing them in your cafe, then you can look into a variety of pre-packaged options. You should have the normal things such as crisps, biscuits, cookies and granola bars handy to give your customers another option.
You can also look into food that you can sell that is already pre-packaged, so all you have to do is display and, in some cases, heat them up again. This makes things easier for you and your staff. All you need to do is find a good supplier, which takes us to our next point.
Whether you decide to cook up your own food or sell premade or pre-packaged items, the key is finding a good supplier that will cater to all your needs.
Having more than one supplier may be a necessity, but make sure that you do your research and find suppliers that can provide more than one of your needs. You can also connect with local farms to make sure your ingredients are always fresh. Farm to table is a popular concept that many people love.
Finally, be sure that you have unique items on your menu by adding your special, extra touch that is in tune with your brand. Many cafe’s offer the same kinds of fare, so do what you can to add special twists to your food that will uniquely be attributed to your cafe.