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Being up to date with key insights and the latest trends will help operators to streamline operations, organize staff and supplies and be able to fulfil the needs of customers. 

This is a great opportunity to get creative with menus – while maximizing your bottom line.

·       Healthier Options for Take-Out:  Make sure your menu incorporates healthier versions of classic take-out menu options. More Plant-based Options:  One of the biggest trends is the reduction in meat consumption and the move towards plant-based meals. Make sure your menus include veggie and plant-based options served up quick and easy. 

Note: There will also be many different nationalities who will have specific dietary needs, so having meat-free options makes good business sense!

·       Stop the Clock: Tacos for breakfast, bacon, and eggs for dinner? Footie fans will be hungry at any time of the day, so do not worry too much about adhering to the traditional breakfast, lunch, dinner times on your menu. Flexibility is key - so get creative!

Hot Tip: Coffee is the Bizness: Take advantage of the growing coffee culture: What snacks go well with coffee? You can upsell things like muffins, mini-croissants, biscuits, etc. Dairy Replacements - Alternatives to dairy have gone mainstream, with almond and soy milk leading the way, but now coconut, oats and barley are hitting the sweet spots. Add one or two dairy substitutes to your menu.

·       Snackification: Bite-sized dining for fans on the move is a big trend at global sporting events. Visitors are going to be commuting a lot – from stadiums to places of interest to their accommodation – so eating regular snacks will work well for them. Make your menu agile so that you can offer different snacks that will suit a variety of meals.

Hot Tip: Swapping Smarts: Have “swaps” readily available to enhance your snacks for those who are looking for plant-based or specific dietary options. For example, swap plant-based alternatives for meat-based menu items, bread for sweet potato, bowls for burgers, etc.

·       The Reliable Sandwich: Easy to prep, sandwiches travel well for deliveries and can be great snacks and in-betweeners as well as substantial main meals. Get creative and add some tasty local touches to your sandwich offering.

·       New Flavours & Fusion Cuisine: Diners are more adventurous, so contrasting flavours work well. Mix it up a bit and get adventurous with food pairings. Football fans will be coming from all over the world, so give them a touch of local flavours.

In line with the above point: Get inventive and combine a mix of food cultures and cuisines. If Italy are playing Mexico on the day – how about a pizza with guacamole? If the USA are playing Japan, how about hot dogs with a touch of wasabi instead of mustard for fun

·       Delivery Trends – Baskets or Meal Kits:  Brunch and breakfast delivery has grown – add breakfast or brunch baskets to your menus OR create easy to make meal kits for travellers to take back to their accommodation venues. Generally, football fans will be travelling in small or larger groups, so consider meal items that would work well as shared items.

It’s time for business unusual, so make sure you are prepared when it comes to staff and operations. Think ahead and do some careful planning beforehand.

·       OUT with bloated menus! Strip back your offering to focus on core dishes for easy management of your supplies and your staff – this means less waste, and greater food consistency. A simple menu will also be easier to manage for your staff (remember, you will probably be adding additional staff members with limited time for training – so simplicity is key).

Hot Tip: User fewer ingredients (in more innovative ways); use a few top-quality convenience or frozen items; make the shift to allergen-free ingredients (where possible).

·       How Versatile is your Menu? Many food service operators begin to appreciate the value of ingredients that are adaptable across the menu, switching to ingredients that can play multiple roles in multiple dishes on your menu.

·       Waste Reduction: If you want to keep costs down, then watch your inventory – be mindful of using all parts of produce when planning your menus, where possible. Preserve or ferment excess foods where you can.

·       Speed-Scratch Movement: Special times call for special measures and the football season is the perfect time to rely on the convenience of ready-made bases. Build dishes using reliable and cost-effective convenience foods and adding your own special touch to elevate the dish. 

Hot Tip: Adopting a few speed-scratch principles could help improve consistency, food safety and cost-efficiency - using ingredients that play multiple roles across the day and can be crafted to suit dine-in, takeaway and delivery applications.