When you think about the importance of ingredients in a restaurant, you may just consider their role in creating meals. But using high-quality produce and protein makes all the difference in your cooking, and that impacts the customer experience. Understand how ingredients play an important role in food and how to use these components to transform your meals.

Customer Satisfaction

Part of the importance of quality ingredients is maintaining a strong customer base. Keep the crowd satisfied when you cook with good components and follow these trends:

Using Fresh, Minimally Processed Ingredients

Processed food isn’t always unhealthy, but consumers have become more interested in unprocessed options. Unprocessed ingredients haven’t undergone any adjustments, like being infused with preservatives or additives. Most fresh ingredients, like produce and animal parts, are “minimally processed” — harvesters and manufacturers wash or refrigerate these products as needed. 

Select foods for your restaurant that are as minimally processed as possible. Consider sourcing organic ingredients, as well. Organic food sales in 2021 generated roughly $57.5 billion in the United States alone. The share of organic food sales grows each year as more consumers find value in foods produced without pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

Let these organic and minimally processed ingredients speak for themselves, and only use additives to enhance their flavors rather than to create something new. Salt does make food taste better, but with many adults cutting down their salt intake, a small pinch goes a long way.

Creating Craft Meals

More customers are finding value in craft meals and products. Consider the craft beer boom — small and local breweries that infuse their creations with local ingredients and personality now have an expansive market to sell their brews to. Words like “artisan” and “craft” have become synonymous with “quality” for many consumers, whether they’re buying a bottle of craft beer or looking for something great to eat.

Create crave-able craft meals to capture this market. These foods combine high-quality ingredients with unique flavors. You might also offer craft meals in a limited quantity or for a limited time. Prepare these options in a unique way or with specialized skills that transform your fresh ingredients into something unforgettable.

Offering Healthful Meals

Customers have become more health-conscious over time — 79% of Americans believe their diets greatly impact their health, and they’re right. The importance of ingredients goes beyond flavor. Your restaurant can help keep your customers healthy with fresh ingredients that boost:

  • Cognitive performance: A high-quality diet promotes improved cognitive function. Eating better can contribute to performance improvements in memory and verbal retention. Consider specific fresh ingredients like avocados and berries, which help delay cognitive decline.
  • Heart health: Limiting sodium intake is good for your customers’ hearts. Consuming less salt offers benefits like lower blood pressure and a smaller risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease. Choose minimally processed ingredients and use less salt in your meals to extend those benefits to your customers.
  • Bone strength: Foods rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium and vitamins K, C and D support bone health. Fresh produce from citrus to dark, leafy greens supplies these vitamins and others to keep customers’ bones strong. 
  • Immune system function: A balanced diet contributes to a healthy immune system. Nutrients like vitamins C and D, zinc, iron and protein are critical to immune cell function and growth. Source fresh meats, fish and produce to create immune-boosting meals.

Show your customers you care about them and their health by offering flavorful and nutritious meals made with quality ingredients.

Improve Taste Overall

Fresh, quality ingredients create meals with equally fresh flavors. You want your customers to experience a delicious meal from your restaurant — one they will keep coming back for. That’s where fresh and local foods come in.

Imported or over-processed ingredients have added components like salt and chemicals to keep them from going bad. Those additives mask foods’ true flavors. Choose local, minimally processed options that let your restaurant create dishes that highlight your ingredients. 

Time is also a factor in freshness and flavor. While dry-aged beef has an intensely meaty taste, frozen and thawed proteins lose flavor or have a different texture as a result of ice crystal formation. Order just the protein you need or buy it from local butchers on the day you cook to create a more flavorful meal.

Freshness matters for fruit and vegetable flavors, as well. Produce that harvesters pick and send out the same day doesn’t need a wax coating, which masks the ingredient’s taste. These fruits and veggies also offer a more satisfying texture — would you rather eat a salad with fresh lettuce or with wilted greens that have been sitting in the fridge?

Consider a canned ingredient compared to something fresh, too. Manufacturers boil produce during the canning process, which extracts flavors that your customers miss out on. Opt for raw fruits and vegetables whenever possible to maintain that fresh, full taste.

Shop Local Ingredients

Consumers look beyond what’s in the meals they order from restaurants. They also want to know where the ingredients come from. Shop with local suppliers to gain these benefits of fresh ingredients in your cooking:

  • Sustainability: Sustainable food trends have grown alongside local ingredient popularity — more consumers value restaurants that offer healthy food and focus on being environmentally friendly. You offer both when you use local ingredients, which don’t need to travel as far as imported ones. Your restaurant reduces its environmental impact by selecting products grown or made in your state. 
  • Cost-savings: Form relationships with local suppliers after you purchase from them for a while, and you could get discounts on your orders. Suppliers value repeat business, especially if you buy in bulk, and they may be more inclined to keep your business by offering deals. You then get quality ingredients at affordable prices and reduce your supply chain costs, which helps your profit margins. Use those savings to expand your menu or your business and offer local, fresh ingredients to more customers.
  • Local economy boost: Source nearby ingredients to contribute to your local economy. You position your restaurant as a member of the community when you buy from local farmers and manufacturers. Use this participation to market your restaurant to community members who want to order from restaurants that support local businesses.
  • Trusted sources: Check out the conditions livestock live in when you buy from a local farm or see how a nearby manufacturing plant treats its workers. Buy locally to make shopping responsibly easier, which many customers value.
  • Seasonality: Using local ingredients lets your restaurant experiment with seasonal dishes. When you use produce that only grows in certain months, you craft customized, seasonal menus that draw customers to order from your restaurant throughout the year. They want to see what creative dishes you’ll make next that embrace the flavors of the season.

Go beyond using these local ingredients and gain additional benefits when you market this choice. Because 56% of consumers want to know how restaurants make their delivery options more sustainable, share your dedication to local ingredients in advertising.

Transform Quality Ingredients in a Commercial Kitchen Rental From Revolving Kitchen

Where you create your meals is as important as what you put in them. Revolving Kitchen offers cloud kitchen rentals, where you can craft fresh food for delivery and takeout. Our premium dry, cold and frozen storage options help you keep your ingredients in their best condition, while modern co-working spaces let you and your staff brainstorm your next menu innovation.

Transform your fresh, quality ingredients with Revolving Kitchen. Reach out to us online or call (972) 332-3516 to learn more about our cloud kitchen rentals.