Gluten-free is the biggest food trend currently taking on
traditional dining. You can find gluten-free options no matter where you eat
these days. Whether you sit down at a ritzy hot-spot lounging in a café chair
by the front window, or even at your local noodle house, you will find
something on the menu designed to accommodate the growing number of guest who
want to avoid gluten. So, what is an enterprising restaurateur to do? Join the
bandwagon, of course!
Some Things Adapt Easily
What can you do to feed the masses of gluten intolerant?
Skip sandwiches, certainly, but boost other offerings as well. Seafood dishes,
vegetarian dips like tzatziki and hummus and rice or potatoes are all viable
choices. The catch is in the prep; you actually have to have tools set aside
specifically for these dishes, or cross-contamination is a possibility.
What about Pre-Made Products?
In general, you will want to avoid pre-processed foods,
since you have no way of knowing what they include. The simple solution for
this is either to make everything in-house, after checking recipes
appropriately, or find a source of gluten-free products. One particularly
well-known company is Smart Flour Foods. This company offers a full line of
baked goods and mixes that are gluten-free and taste great.
Gluten-free pastas are increasingly available as well. Many
taste remarkably similar to traditional, wheat based varieties. This allows you
greater flexibility when planning the menu.
Regardless of where you get your gluten-free products, you
will have to watch for cross-contamination. Separate tools, pans, grill areas
and cutting boards will all have to be part of your layout to ensure that your
customers can trust your claim of being gluten-free.
Spread the Word
The real payoff to offering gluten-free options is the
potential increase in business. While only about one percent of Americans are
truly gluten intolerant, many more have made the switch hoping for health
benefits. It is estimated that nearly 30 percent of adults actually follow a
gluten-free diet, and more seem to be joining every day.
If you are going to the expense and trouble of offering
truly gluten-free then make the most of it. Trumpet your accomplishments.
Advertise your new status. Post it on your menus, your webpage and your social
media. Consider printing a special menu just for your gluten intolerant guests
so they don’t have to play a guessing game.
Filling the restaurant tables can be challenging for any
restaurant owner. Staying on top of trends is one of the best ways to get your
share of the local market. This year that includes gluten-free cuisine right
alongside local sourcing, transparency and street food. Can you step up your