How to stand out from your competitors with four 'house-made' food items

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Processed food has always had a bad reputation, but with the rise of dietary awareness around the world, there’s never been a better time to focus on organic home-style cooking. Your customer wants complete transparency with their food: what ingredients were used? Where were they sourced? Are there preservatives, added flavours, sugars?

Having the ability to offer delicious, home-made options will be a major asset to your business. It shows a vested interest in your customer’s health, and a commitment to producing delicious food on-site.

This year, try your hand at creating homely cooked menu items. Even if you are a small business, there are plenty that can be made with almost no skill. Home-made items can fetch higher retail prices - for example, a freshly baked gourmet sausage roll could sell for upwards of $10, whilst a store-bought equivalent only $5.

Here are four super simple recipe ideas to get you started.

#1: PICKLED VEGETABLES ​

Pickled foods such as kimchi, cabbage, daikon, and sauerkraut have moved from niche cuisines to the mainstream in recent years as studies on gut health have shown the amazing health benefits. Pickled foods are great for gut bacteria, and contribute to better gut health overall with improvements in mental, digestive, and immune function.

Offering homemade pickled goods on your menu and as take-home items is a quick win as it’s cheap, and easy. All you need is the item you want to pickle, sterilised glassware, and vinegar. You can customise your recipes easily by adding in different flavours such as garlic, chilli, paprika, and various herbs. They look great, and taste delicious.

#2: JAMS AND MARMALADES

Similarly, home-made jams and marmalades are a beautiful addition to a menu, but also make great take home items for your customers. You don’t need any special equipment to make jam: after boiling the fruit, you will add sugar and gelatine and cool in glassware.

Fresh fruit can be purchased in bulk for jams when it season, particularly if bruised or not suitable for retail sale. You can also use frozen fruit like strawberries and berries. The high sugar content means it lasts well – which can keep your sales turning over even when foot traffic is low.

#3: FRESHLY BAKED BREAD

Bread made on-site will set you apart from your competitors: it makes the venue smell delicious, and looks great on your menu. Whilst it’s true that bread has become a contentious item, with many people opting to go gluten free, freshly baked bread can be enough to topple the true bread fans.

Being able to advertise preservative-free fresh bread is a good look for your business, too - for something that is generally outsourced, putting in the effort to make your own shows commitment to healthier options.

Bread that you don’t use in menu items can also be displayed at the counter and sold separately for an additional revenue stream.

#4: SWEETS AND PASTRIES

Sweet slices, fudge, cupcakes, muffins, croissants - they look great, attract hungry customers, and are an easy add on to coffee orders or after lunch treats.

Prepare your batters in advance in bulk, and freeze in serving sections to be defrosted day to day. Like the bread, baking sweet goods smells amazing and will entice foot traffic to your venue.

Differentiating yourself from the competition doesn’t always have to be expensive. Something as small as showcasing house-made menu options can speak volumes about what type of venue you are, and what kind of commitment you have towards fresh food. For a small amount of effort, you can really boost your offering dramatically.

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