Food retailing is a tough and complicated market to perform well in. Competition is strong, and new bars, cafes and restaurants are seeming to pop up every week, making it difficult for businesses to attract and retain a loyal customer base. Saying that, everyone has a favourite coffee shop, lunchtime hangout or dinner date location, so what makes some places work well rather than others?

One reason for this is likely to be found in the menu. Employing chefs who are aware and capable of making the latest food trends in their own unique way is just one method of ensuring patrons keep coming back to your venue. So what should be on the table to keep diners happy and owners in business?

Bread

No longer just the pre-thought to dinner, or a way to fill up after a disappointing meal, bread is increasingly becoming a course in its own right. This is due to the focus on the range and selection of breads – and accompanying spreads and dips – on offer in eateries around the world. It’s not enough just to serve standard white grain loaves though – get creative with global inspiration and be aware of allergies by stocking sourdough and other alternatives.

International flavours

Wherever you are in the world, customers want exciting and diverse food to tantalise their taste buds. This has meant the rise of Middle Eastern, Latin and Asian culinary flavours in particular being integrated in to local, traditional meals. Try to rework old favourites with a hint of spices or interesting textures to make your menu stand out from the crowd. This is an easier and more accessible way of introducing new ingredients and flavours into your existing menu, allowing you to retain your regulars while potentially attracting new diners too.

Specialise

If there’s a particular meal that’s always ordered, or even a certain time of the day that gets the most covers, why not consider specialising into this area solely? The rise of the single item retail unit continues to grow, with specialist brunch and dessert places especially gaining momentum. Don’t be afraid to be too specific either, as niche retailers are doing well at the moment too.

If you require further help with redesigning your menu or other aspect of business, consider retail consulting to aid this process.