The past year has been tough for everyone, but business closures and lockdown regulations have hit the hospitality and catering industries particularly hard. To make sure cafes and restaurants remain profitable, many have found creative ways to retain and even grow their customer base, despite not being able to open their doors to diners. One especially popular idea that many restaurants have already had great success with is offering DIY meal kits to inspire diners to cook their favourite dishes at home!
The benefits of offering cook-at-home meal kits
In addition to the financial benefits, there are many reasons why offering DIY meal kits to your restaurant diners throughout the current lockdown is a fantastic idea. For instance:
- Offering cook-your-own kits is a great way to continue communicating with your customers. You’ll remind them you exist and make sure you’re their first port of call as soon as restaurants can open again!
- Lots of people are using their free time to try new hobbies, and creating DIY meal kits allows you to take advantage of that. You’re no longer just a restaurant, but a way to ease their lockdown boredom!
- If you’re also offering delivery services, putting together a range of DIY meal kits means you can use any leftover ingredients to make sure nothing goes to waste! This is especially beneficial if you purchase food items wholesale and have lots of ingredients to use.
When it comes to preparing cook-at-home meal kits for your diners, you can be as creative as you like. You could find inspiration from your menu or take advantage of marketing opportunities (e.g. Valentine’s Day) to create themed specials. Whatever you decide, make sure to focus on taste, presentation and friendly delivery service!
Seven tasty DIY meal kit ideas to offer your customers
Here are seven delicious meal kit ideas to inspire your restaurant diners!
Restaurants may be closed, but that doesn’t mean your diners can’t bring elegance and sophistication into their home with a luxurious afternoon tea kit! Afternoon tea kits are simple to put together, but if done properly, can look and taste exquisite. Plus, your diners will pay for the convenience of having everything already made!
To prepare the perfect afternoon kit, include:
- A selection of sandwiches
- A selection of scones
- Cream and a range of jams and preserves
- Cakes, tarts and pastries.
Afternoon tea is best enjoyed with a cup of tea, so pop in a couple of tea bags and a dash of milk in a small glass bottle to keep your diners refreshed! For the finishing touch, throw in a paper tablecloth and some napkins.
For more ideas and advice, check out our blog: From Fruit Jam to Cream: Creating the Ultimate Afternoon Tea Menu.
Breakfast in bed
With Valentine’s Day approaching, couples everywhere are searching for fun ways to celebrate without leaving the house. Your restaurant won’t be jam-packed this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still cater to your loved up diners. Offering a DIY meal for two will give customers something to look forward to, especially something as novelty as a breakfast in bed kit!
Delicious breakfast items include:
- Sweet breads and pancakes
- Fruity smoothies or fresh juices
- Jams and preserves
- A selection of fresh fruit
- Pots of yoghurt and cream.
You can be as creative as you like with your breakfast in bed kits, although we’d recommend including items that require minimal preparation. This will allow your diners to enjoy a lazy morning!
If your restaurant specialises in Italian cuisine, why not use your expertise to bring the taste of Italy to your diners’ kitchens? Making pizza is a fun activity to do alone, in a couple or with your family, so no matter your customers’ lockdown living situation, they are sure to enjoy spinning dough above their heads and layering up on their favourite toppings!
For a pizza making kit, you will need:
- Flour, olive oil and yeast
- Your restaurant’s winning tomato pizza sauce
- A selection of toppings, including cheese, olives and fresh basil.
If you have a speciality pizza, provide the ingredients and a step-by-step guide on how to make it. Your diners will remember just how much they love it!
The UK loves preparing cheeseboards! Why not take the hassle of sourcing the individual ingredients out of your customers’ hands and box up a selection of your favourite cheeses and accompaniments? You could even include a bottle of wine to make the experience extra special!
To keep your cheese-loving diners satisfied, include:
- A range of different cheeses, including creamy, crumbly and hard options
- Crackers and breadsticks
- Chutneys and savoury preserves
- Fresh grapes and apples.
Know your cheeses? Take your cheeseboard kit to new heights with handwritten cards. These should include tasting notes and pairing recommendations!
If you’re not sure which cheeses to include, check out our blog: The Ultimate Guide to Cheeses.
Curry for two
On a Friday night, there’s nothing better than tucking into an aromatic curry. However, if your diners have a bit of extra time and energy, they may prefer to make the curry from scratch rather than ordering a takeaway. Here’s where your curry kit for two will come in handy.
For a flavoursome curry, include:
- Fresh vegetables in the correct quantities for two servings
- Two portions of pre-cooked rice
- A jar of your famous curry sauce
- Plenty of tasty spices and bay leaves to season.
Your diners will love putting together this spicy vegetable dish, especially if you compliment each hamper with a selection of breads. Naan can take a curry from good to great, so don’t forget to include cooked breads alongside pickles and chutneys.
Traditional picnics may be off the cards right now with lockdown restrictions and winter weather conditions keeping us inside, but that doesn’t mean you can’t entice your customers with an indoor picnic kit! Setting up a picnic on the living room floor is a fun weekend activity that will leave your customers a little more hopeful for summer days.
Pack a hamper with the perfect picnic items:
- Sandwich ingredients, including bread and spreads
- A range of cheeses
- Packets of crisps
- Cakes and sweet breads
- A range of fruits
- Fresh juices and smoothies.
Sandwiches are the key ingredient in any picnic, so make sure to fill your hampers with the highest-quality sliced bread! Once you have the perfect sandwich base, you can fill it with everything from cream cheese to sliced vegetables.
After a long day of working from home, sitting back with a refreshing cocktail is a fun and tasty way to unwind. If you specialise in preparing everything from Cosmopolitans to Espresso Martinis, consider offering cocktail making kits for your diners to whip up at home!
The ingredients you need will depend on the cocktails you offer, but the basics include spirits, fresh fruit juice, fresh lime and sugar syrup.
To make your cocktail making experience even more exciting, include a few decorative items such as paper umbrellas and stirrers. Printed instructions will also add extra sparkle to your hamper!
Freshways: Wholesale dairy and baked good suppliers in the UK
At Freshways, we understand that quality ingredients are key to a restaurant’s success. That’s why we go above and beyond to supply only the freshest dairy products alongside baked goods, smoothies and much more from leading brands. Whether you’re looking for wholesale milk or tasty breads, buttery spreads or fresh juices, you needn’t look further than us!
We’re proud of our wide range of products, exceptional delivery services and competitive prices and are pleased to work with clients across the country. We offer everything from wholesale cheese to yeast and honey, so no matter the requirements of your cafe or restaurant, Freshways is here for you.
To learn more about our wholesale food services, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We look forward to supplying your business!