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What is British Food Fortnight & how can your restaurant take part?

22 September 2020 Small Business Advice

Each year, from 19th September to the 4th October, schools, restaurants, supermarkets and households celebrate Britain’s farmers, butchers, bakers, and growers by taking part in British Food Fortnight.

What is British Food Fortnight?

British Food Fortnight is a national event that encourages everyone to actively celebrate and appreciate the diverse and delicious fresh produce farmed and grown in the UK and on their doorstep.

Why is it important to buy British-produced foods?

Not only does buying British help to create a robust domestic market and economy for local farmers and producers, but it also helps keep your carbon footprint down. Sourcing locally produced vegetables and meats is an ethical way to minimise the number of imports needed and also preserves the freshness of your food.  

Aside from the environmental benefits, shopping locally contributes to the success of independent and family-owned businesses.

How can my restaurant take part?

Restaurants can have as little or as much involvement in British Food Fortnight as they wish, there is no obligation but there are a lot of advantages to taking part. The best thing is that it can be as informal as you want it to, and there’s no need to register online in advance. 

We’ve highlighted five ways to easily take part below.

Look at incorporating seasonal produce into dishes

Cooking inline with seasonal produce is the best way to ensure your dishes are not only full of flavour, but also contain the optimum nutrients and goodness, from soil to plate. From a business point-of-view, it also makes your supplies less expensive, as food that is ripe and bountiful in the UK doesn’t need to be imported from another country.  

Examples of vegetables in season in Autumn:

  • Field mushrooms
  • Marrow
  • Pumpkin
  • Squashes
  • Rocket

Put a twist on the classic traditions 

Pub classics or ‘British classics’ are a staple part of gastropubs and restaurants these days. Instead of being viewed as uninspiring, foods like toad in-the-hole, bangers and mash, or the classic steak and ale pie are comfort foods that people know and love. 

However, just because these traditions have been around for a long time, it doesn’t squash the potential to inspire with your menu. Why not celebrate the ‘best of British’ by reinventing the classics with some modern twists. Adding new ingredients, or making veggie or vegan substitutes is a great way to reimagine the classics.

Run a promotion on seasonal dishes

If you’re creating a new menu inspired by British seasonal foods and traditions, you’ll need to promote it to customers. The more your customers are aware of the fresh and local produce you use, the more choice they have in supporting you to continue in this buying trend, long after BFF is over.

To encourage customers to support this, incentivise your seasonal menu with a set-meal offer. For example, three courses for £25. 

Highlight local food supplies on menus and with serving staff

It may be that your restaurant already champions the best of British, but your customers aren’t always aware of this. In which case, your contribution to BFF could be as simple as highlighting your food sources on your menu. 

If you haven’t previously thought too much about using British producers as suppliers, for two weeks you could experiment with new menus that incorporate local ingredients and see how it impacts your business and customers.

You may even find that your food costs decrease, your supply lead times improve, and you end up providing an important network of business to independent businesses.

Maintain a diverse menu cooked with British-grown ingredients

Celebrating British Food Fortnight shouldn’t mean you can’t create dishes from other countries or cultures. It’s a celebration of the diversity of products that we can get from our local farmers and growers in the UK.

If anything, it’s a great opportunity to show yourself and your customers that you can cook all of these amazing dishes from across the world just by nipping to the grocer or butcher a few miles from your restaurant.

Think about a diverse menu that shows off the range of local British ingredients, but is inspired or a result of different countries. If some ingredients are harder to find, try substitutes which will result in the perfect fusion.

To find out more about British Food Fortnight and how you can take an active role, visit the official website here.  

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