Serve your customers local produce and watch sales soar?

The recent Irish Food Writers’ Guild’s Irish Food Awards served up some food for thought on some of the excellent home-grown produce that we have in Ireland - from which Irish publicans could easily find not only a Unique Selling Point on which to attract more customers to their food offering but, by highlighting the local origin of their food supplier, could considerably boost food sales for both parties.

Consider a customer in a pub for lunch and reading a writeup on two different menus offering two entirely different experiences:

Menu 1:
Starter: Smoked Salmon in Mayonnaise sauce or Cured Bacon salad with dressing.
Main Course: Venison & black pudding.
Dessert: Flapjacks with lemon cream.

Menu 2:
Starter: Whiskey-cured salmon with Janet’s Country Fayre Beetroot Blush and citrus mayonnaise or O’Neills Dry-Cured Bacon salad with figs and an apple & honey dressing.
Main Course: Coopershill House Irish Venison loin with pumpkin purée and a black pudding filo cigar.
Dessert: Flahavan’s mille feuilles flapjacks with lemon cream.

Now consider which menu offers the consumer more information and is more likely to make his or her mouth water in anticipation?

I’d wholeheartedly agree with the Irish Food Writers’ Guild Chairperson Orla Broderick when she stated at the awards, “Now more than ever, we need to be supporting our local producers, many of whom are suffering as a result of rising costs, cheap low-quality imports and the obvious fact that our economy has contracted significantly.

“If retailers fail to make room on the shelves for our indigenous producers and if we, as consumers, fail to support them, we will in a short space of time witness the demise of dozens of small and medium-sized producers who will simply be squeezed out of business. This will affect not only Ireland’s food producing capabilities but will also have a significant impact on jobs.”

Your own customers are becoming increasingly aware of this too and your participation in providing locally-sourced Irish produce on your menu has never been more pivotal. If you’re providing award-winning foodstuffs such as those above, you’re creating something rather special for the dining customer from which you too will reap the benefit.

And if you are prepared to commit, I’m sure your local producers will be only too happy to negotiate a reasonable price.

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