Here’s Why You Should Hyperlocalize Your Restaurant

Restaurant trends come and go, but one thing is for sure: While the details may vary, consumer preferences have demonstrated steadily inclining favor toward sustainability and environmentalism. More recently, restaurants have taken this as a chance to hyperlocalize their menus and provide better, closely-sourced ingredients that have a positive impact on the community as a whole.

“Local” food is legally defined as being sourced within 400 miles of where it’s served, and they have a variety of benefits. Diners increasingly prefer locally sourced foods, which can really mean anything from produce grown onsite to beer brewed in the back. Although not all restaurants with hyperlocal menus grow their own ingredients, many do. If you lack the resources, or don’t want to put in the work, you can also buy from nearby vendors instead.

Hyperlocalizing your menu weaves deeper ties to the community where you live and work, thus strengthening your relationship with the locals and appealing to new customers who have the same environmentalist goals. Fresher and more sustainable foods aren’t just good for the planet; they’re good for sales and business, too.

How to Go Hyperlocal

Why does it matter so much to customers? They like knowing where their food comes from and what exactly is in their dishes, particularly the living conditions of the animals and what the plants were treated with. When you buy local, the plants and animals are more likely to have experienced good treatment in life; and customers can go directly to the source and ask if they have any questions. When food isn’t mass produced, it has better flavor and more health benefits too.

What are your options for building a menu with hyperlocal ingredients?

Onsite Garden

Assess your premises and see if there’s room to grow your own food. Whether clearing space on the lawn or emptying the roof, growing vegetables onsite is as hyperlocal as it gets. Tending a personal garden means that you’re providing ingredients that are one-hundred percent unique, and if customers have any questions about where their food comes from, you’re ready to answer in full.

Local Distributors

Research farms and distributors in your area so you have an idea of where to start looking for fresh produce. Forming relationships with the other businesses in your supply chain is a critical aspect of getting a good bargain, so take the time to do your research before deciding which vendor to team up with. When you do make the change, advertise your new partnership so your customers know that you’re incorporating new, farm-fresh ingredients into your menu.

Farmer’s Markets

You can also shop around for vendors at your local farmer’s market. Although typically they sell in quantities for household use, you can sometimes buy overstocked items for cheap which will supplement any commercial kitchen at a steal.

Community-Support Agriculture

Joining community-supported agriculture, or CSAs, gives you access to everything grown on that farm. It’s an especially attractive option if you don’t have the space or time to grow a garden yourself. Purchase a share of a local farm before the growing season gets started, and get in on fresh local produce right from the source. When you have a stake in the growth, you’ll want to help tend the garden to make sure ingredients are grown and harvested to your liking.

Breweries

It’s not just food that comes local nowadays; spice up your menu with hyperlocally-sourced drinks too. Restaurants are making spirits and beer onsite, and buying from local vendors more and more frequently too. There are a lot of small vineyards and microbreweries around that sell unique flavors made from local ingredients, so you quite literally can’t get it anywhere else. Partnering with local breweries is great for you and for them, as they want exposure too and can advertise to their fanbase that your restaurant sells their favorite stout. Everybody wins.

Building a menu made with hyperlocal ingredients is good for business, good for your customers and good for the planet too. Use it as a marketing tool! Big distributors are such a dominating force in the market that alternative routes are a good promotional tactic for any restaurant to use, and it draws in new customers who share the same values as you. It’s more eco-friendly and profitable to source ingredients close to home.

Building a hyperlocal menu is one restaurant trend that’s not going away anytime soon. These are just a few tools to start building a more sustainable restaurant for the future, but the hard work never ends. Keep working to build a restaurant that’s as appealing, sustainable and locally sourced.

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