News Cafe launches new menuMay 13th, 2010 by H&R | Categories: beverages, food, restaurants, tourism
News Cafe launched its new menu in May, using newsprint to deliver its message of new dishes and beverages available.
The new menu is colourful and is now available in all 40 restaurants countrywide.
Alan van der Westhuizen, GM of News Cafe’s restaurant division, says: “The thinking behind the new menu was to develop food items that were fresh, contemporary and simple, whilst still encompassing the cafe style offering. The overriding concept was to remove items that were proving to be poor sellers and consider novel menu items that created a point-of-difference.”
Throughout the three month development process, News Cafe asked the following question: “Is the item appropriate for all stores within the brand and is the dish relevant to the News Cafe menu?”
News Cafe caters to various dining occasions throughout the day and the group had to rationalise the final menu selection to cut out the slow movers and develop new signature items.
Van der Westhuizen says News Cafe updates its menu every six months: “The frequency of repeat business throughout our sites prompts us to update our menu with major content and design changes on an annual basis. Smaller content and price changes are effected every six months. This allows us to constantly consider innovative dinning trends and fresh flavours available, as well as eliminate old and tired food items that are no longer relevant to the News Cafe menu.”
The 12-week development practice begins with suggestions from franchisees, assessment of the sales statistics, as well as research into the latest international and local dining trends.
Once the old items have been removed and new menu items are proposed, the methodology continues through to the cooking, plating and costing of the latest menu items. Through this process, even some of the more innovative menu items are excluded due to challenges in practical application or cost.
A total of 16 new food items have been added to the newspaper-style menu. These include flatbreads with various beef, chicken, lamb or vegetarian toppings; various new beef (both rump and fillet), chicken and fish dishes.
New dishes expected to gain popularity include a chakalaka rump, which is a 300g rump cooked to choice topped with a homemade spicy chakalaka and accompanied with deep fried meilie pap cheese balls; and southern fried chicken thighs served with coleslaw salad.
Van der Westhuizen explains further: “There is always the element of risk when introducing new menu items. Much consideration is given to the skill base of the kitchen staff and the availability of local ingredients nationally. If the item is perceived too risky, we would rather trial it on a specialist or signature menu before including it on the main menu.”
“Naturally we expect the new menu to be successful but that largely depends on the buy-in from our franchisees, whose enthusiasm will ultimately translate the culinary concepts into sales.”
Future trends are always difficult to predict. However, van der Westhuizen believes healthier menu items will continue to be in demand.
“We anticipate fresh quality ingredients, smaller portions, more exotic flavours and also the demand for simple comfort foods.”
Added to the launch of the new dining menu, is the introduction of a revamped cocktail menu.
Completed internally, and together with the input from various cocktail bartending authorities, the new cocktail menu also involved some rationalisation, with the introduction of more classics and original flavour adaptations.
Some 15 new items have been added. The new menu offering includes the introduction of the tropical splash and the quay west cocktails, both of which offer coconut, fruit and floral flavours.
The most significant introduction to the cocktail menu are the classics, which News Cafe has adapted with its own flavour twist.