Christmas wish list

Summer is upon us and the sun is occasionally shining, meanwhile the team at Brakes are thinking about Christmas. Or not really thinking about Christmas, more like dealing with it. Thoughts have been had, ideas drawn up and discussed, and now the sales teams are on the road showcasing the latest products for Christmas 2009.

Sally Sturley, product knowledge manager at Brakes, says: “Christmas is a key time of the year that must be taken advantage of. Despite the public currently feeling the pinch parties are still likely to go all out at Christmas and operators must make sure they have everything planned for the surge ahead.”

Brakes has tried to produce meals that are winter themed rather than Christmas themed. This means that caterers can continue to put these items on the menu into January and February of 2010. Having an autumnal through to winter feel to the dishes also means that caterers can give the meals a trial run earlier in the year before deciding which they would like to purchase in bulk for the Christmas parties.

Another decision from Brakes is to make the most of provenance, with its Smoked Scottish Salmon, British Single Turkey Breast and Somerset Brie amp; Beetroot Tart. Brakes also mentions when its turkey products have the Red Tractor logo or when its salmon is MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) approved. This is all information that caterers may wish to display prominently on their menus to attract and interest consumers. It can provide a key point of different as consumers make their choices on where to eat.

While turkey is traditional, multiple turkey dinners can take their toll, and some customers would prefer something different on the menu. New for this year is the Chicken Jambonette a de-boned half a chicken with drumstick intact, hand-formed into a pear shape.

Brakes has launched a range of individual desserts including Black Forest Gateau, Lemon Meringue Pie, Hot Chocolate Soufflé and Banoffee Pie. The individual desserts mean that caterers don’t have to worry about deciding on portion sizes and all the desserts look the same. The pre-portioned desserts are still available, including the new Créme Brûlée Cheesecake.

Adding to the cakes range are the La Boulangerie Cup Cakes in strawberry, chocolate and vanilla with icing and edible glitter. Cup cakes are seeing something of a resurgence and Brakes is offering frozen cakes to be thawed out and served as either a dessert or an accompaniment to tea or coffee.

Sturley adds: “Having a fantastic range of Christmas products means that when customers come out to dine, they feel the true Christmas atmosphere. This is a fantastic opportunity to create extra revenue by making Christmas menus special and help lift the gloom. Key lines will be traditional Christmas fayre but with some new product offerings this year, Christmas can still be great for operators and customers alike. Don’t forget to add to the theatre by decorating the tables using premium napkins, Tête-à-Tête placement settings and crackers. All these little touches allow operators to charge a higher price, and benefit from increased profits.”

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