Here at Restaurant & Café Magazine, we want to provide foodservice businesses with practical tips and information for these tough times ahead. From keeping your customers and staff safe to ideas for future-proofing your brand.

Today’s tips cover future menu ideas, it’s important to think about what to offer customers when things return to the new normal.

Functional Foods

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a significant growth in online searches for foods with functional benefits.

Functional foods are ingredients that offer health benefits that extend beyond their nutritional value. The concept originated in Japan in the 1980s when government agencies started approving foods with proven benefits in an effort to better the health of the general population.

Spoon Guru, an American AI food technology company has launched an Immunity Support Tag system for online grocers to help customers find food that boost the immune system.

A similar approach could be taken with future menus. Labels such as GF (Gluten Free) and Vg (Vegan) already appear next to many menu items, why not an IB label for Immunity Boosting, or FF: contains Functional Foods.

Fruits and vegetables are considered functional foods, as they have specific compounds that have been shown to prevent and reduce diseases. A menu could be designed around the functional fruits and veggies that are currently in season, this would promote local produce sourcing and seasonal eating, two of the top 2020 menu trends.

Different fruits and vegetables offer different benefits, for example red fruits, including tomatoes, pink grapefruits, watermelons, and guavas, contain lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene is associated with a reduction in prostate, lung and stomach cancer. Red and purple fruits and vegetables (or drinks based on them), such as grapes, red wine, grape juice, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, eggplants, black plums, and red cabbage, contain anthocyanin, which is linked to decreased blood pressure and a reduction in heart attacks.

Giving your customers this kind of information about the benefits of a menu item, such as a delicious smoothie, or a sauce made from red berries, enables customers to make informed choices and will see them coming back to your menu where they know they can find what they want.

You’re most likely using many of these ingredients already, share the information you have about the ingredients you love with your customers. Eggs on the menu? Eggs with omega-3 can reduce the risk of heart disease, offer your customers a poached egg salad as a healthy alternative to the traditional eggs bene.

Life Under Lockdown

It can be hard to get excited about future menus while being stuck inside the house on lockdown, but now is the perfect time to practice those recipes you’ve been dying to try or tweak.

Film yourself making the menu item, from prep to plating, and get the video on social media. This is a great way to stay connected to your customers, as well as a fun, family lockdown activity.

Remember to continue to share your lockdown story with your fans. Kiwis want to support their local in any way they can. Have you introduced vouchers? That regular customer that used to buy a coffee and muffin everyday still wants to, so give them a chance to pay for those now so they can enjoy them later.

SOS Cafe has been set up by experienced senior executive, David Downs, merchant success manager at Shopify Plus, Joyce Quah, and support frontend developer at Shopify Plus, Naadei Atafu, to help local businesses sell gift cards that customers can redeem later.

“We whipped up this website that will allow cafés who don’t have the ability to take vouchers a way to do that,” explained the co-founders.

To find out how your business can join SOS Cafe visit

For previous Industry Tips click here.