Cooking Up Summer Limited-Time-Offer Ideation Menus

  • Aug 09, 2021

The California Avocado Commission has established itself as an added-value resource for foodservice operators looking to energize their menu with the popular California avocados by providing inspirational menu ideation sessions that demonstrate the quality and versatility of the fruit through easy-to-execute menu concepts. Like many foodservice operators, Grill Concepts is facing severe labor and supply chain challenges. Corporate Executive Chef and Head of Purchasing Tamra Scroggins turned to the Commission’s foodservice team for innovative concepts that would keep their summer seasonal menus moving while balancing the need to keep preparation simple for operations and teams.

Grill Concepts is a multi-concept operator with a number of restaurant brands that span the culinary spectrum from fine dining to gastropub and ghost kitchens, including Daily Grill, Grill on the Alley, Public School, LA Bowls & Breads, Burger Academy, and Egg & Mary’s. To expand Grill Concepts’ use of fresh California avocados in their menu offerings, on June 2 CAC’s foodservice team presented nine easy-to-prepare California avocado-centric summer menu concepts. The menu ideation session took place at a Daily Grill location in Century City, California where Chef Jason Hernandez utilized the location’s equipment and ingredients to simulate real-world conditions.

After a day of prep in the kitchen Chef Hernandez prepared the final dishes alongside Chef Scroggins and then presented them to the assembled group. By preparing the menu items on site, Chef Scroggins could adjust ingredients or operational flow as needed while preserving the intended presentation and flavor of the dishes. The team discussed how each of the nine dishes would/could fit with various Grill Concept brand operations and menus.

Upon completion of the ideation session, the Commission provided the Grill Concepts team with recipes for all the concepts. An online panel of consumers tested the top five recipes concepts and using a research tool called SCORES the concepts were analyzed for purchase intent and other metrics. The California Roll Bowl Salad and Koreatown Kimchi Noodle Salad with California Avocados scored as “top performers” for uniqueness and draw.

By bringing new menu ideas featuring California avocados to a foodservice operator’s seasonal menu, the Commission reinforces the seasonality of California avocados and encourages demand for them.

Chef Jason Hernandez and Alexei Rudolf from CAC’s foodservice team present easy-to-prepare California avocado menu items to the Grill Concepts team.

The Koreatown Kimchi Noodle Salad with California Avocados performed well with a consumer test group.

Another top performer, according to the consumer panel, was the California Roll Bowl Salad featuring slices of fresh California avocado and a spicy California Avocado Crema.

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