Seasonal Menu Rotation and the Minnesota Certified Food Manager

Seasonal menu board for Minnesota Certified Food Manager

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With the turning of the seasons, many Minnesota certified food managers look to change their menus using seasonal products to create a fresh dining experience. Many times, this change isn’t as simple as it might sound. Even altering one aspect of your menu can create challenges that will take detailed planning to overcome. This week, we’d like to take a look at a few ideas that can help with this transition.


Seasonal Menu Design Tips for the Minnesota Certified Food Manager


We have three key ideas that we think will be helpful when dealing with seasonal food availability:


  • Review Minnesota Food Code rules for new product
  • Adjust product inventory
  • Conduct a test run


The first item on our list may go overlooked more often than not. Many supervisors believe that they remember everything from their online Servsafe certification classes, but it’s very possible to overlook specific elements that may apply. Whether you’re serving or preparing shellfish, game meat or organic vegan product, it may be best to take a few minutes to personally review regulations regarding your new menu items and take the time to make sure your staff knows how to handle each element properly.


Our second tip is to adjust your inventory appropriately. Failing to do so could lead to costly waste and a shortage of necessary ingredients. There are many times where specific ingredients are used for several different dishes. If you’re planning on rotating your menu seasonally, be careful to increase your inventory to account for new menu items, or decrease par levels if an ingredient will not be incorporated as often as it previously had been.


Our final tip can be crucial to a stress-free transition. Rather than simply change your menu, it may be wise to ease into the process. Your restaurant can run weekend “test” specials to gauge your guest’s interest and see if the new dish can be incorporated without unnecessary hassle.


When we talk to restaurant owners and managers, we often hear three different theories on seasonal menu rotation. Some suggest that a complete menu overhaul is necessary at least twice a year, others replace one or two menu items, while about one-third don’t feel that seasonal rotation is necessary. Which philosophy do you feel is the best for your place of business?

Posted in Food Safety, Management