Although not a holiday, Lent brings major changes to the restaurant industry. During this 40 day period, menus see an increasing amount of fish and seafood. Lent is the period observed before Easter, where Catholics and many Protestants follow restrictive diets. During this time many “give up” foods such as chocolate or junk food, these are up to the individual. The practices started to honor Christ and experience suffering, just as Jesus suffered for his people. In addition, many Christians practice the act of not eating meat on all Friday. Without meat, Lenten Fridays have been deemed as Fish Friday.
Lent Menu Options
Especially as we transition into warmer weather, many fresh inspired dishes include fish. With a variety of fish to choose from, the options are almost endless. Smoked salmon and almond crusted tilapia are very popular among consumers. Also consider a seafood twist on common meat dishes. Try a seafood lasagna or a shrimp pad Thai to allow customers to order their comfort dishes without the meat. Vegetarian meals are another option for those foregoing meat. As vegetables increase in popularity, so do vegetarian dishes. Portabella burgers, falafel and ratatouille are just a few dishes to highlight as a vegetarian entrée.
For those who do not want to change their menu for the Lenten season, consider only highlighting these dishes on Friday. Create specials for Friday nights that do not contain meat. Consider using key words to describe your meatless dishes in order to attract all customers. Words like “organic” and “natural” appeal to most everyone in 2017. When purchasing fish and seafood, locally sourced seafood will entice any trendsetter, regardless of their Lenten practices. Using organic and natural produce will have the same effect on customers.
With these approaches, the menu contains trendy and enticing dishes for both the meat eaters and Lent observers. When your menu includes meatless dishes that taste delicious, everyone will enjoy these options. Remember to market these dishes to both the Lenten observers and those not following dietary restrictions. In addition, those restraining from meat from Lent will only do so on Fridays, so make sure to keep plenty of traditional meat dishes on the menu. When your restaurant includes trendy meat-free meals, customers will return with the satisfaction of knowing you can provide for their dietary needs.