Brunch can play an instrumental role in the restaurant business, bringing more diners in mid-day and giving you yet another way to build up a loyal following. At John Besh’s New Orleans restaurant Lüke, Chef Drake Leonards has created a successful brunch program that guests rave about. Here, he shares tips for building a menu, marketing, and more.
Most places, brunch is just a little more special than a Saturday or Sunday lunch, but in New Orleans guests enjoy brunch as much as the rest of the country enjoys dinner!
Brunch allows us to include everyone: kids, families, locals or even the over-indulged visitors. We attempt to recreate the hospitality found in homes and hunting camps around Louisiana: casual and inviting, yet excited for whatever the experience will bring.
Start with what you have. Think simple! Be creative! The functionality of brunch begins with product utilization. Turning our shrimp and grits dinner menu item into a brunch item is as simple as adding poached eggs. In regards to the staff, it is much easier to lay out a new menu with similarities to that of the menus through the week. Familiarity for both the staff and guest will ensure that you transition smoothly for the new meal period.
Stick with the classics. Classic dishes are quite functional, not only because they work now, but they have worked throughout the decades. Egg Sardou, biscuit sandwiches, French toast, and Bloody Marys are cost-effective and classic menu items that help use product already on hand.
Work as a team. One fun aspect of brunch is the sharing of knowledge amongst kitchen staff. We see many faces work together, soliciting experiences, recipes, and techniques. Younger cooks often attempt modern spin-offs on the classics to test their creative bounds.
Get the word out. Getting the word out that brunch is being added to your current restaurant offerings is a bit different. As I mentioned, it is something that is fun for a family but can also be something that is a celebration with friends. We see crowds of young adults and groups of guests that are the same age as my grandparents. Brunch is for everyone!
One great way to get the word out to your local guests is through check presenters. These are presented with the check to the guest at all times of day and can highlight brunch. Be sure to train your servers to point out that brunch is available and that they would love to see them again sometime. It’s a way to remind them on their way out to make a reservation for the weekend.
Sending out an e-blast is also a useful way to spread the word to your guests. Just be sure that you aren’t sending out too many e-blasts or your followers will unsubscribe. Social media is a very powerful tool as well. Get some great photos of your brunch items and featured cocktails, and post away! Instagram and Facebook are the best platforms to post beautiful photos of your food items.
Brunch is a fun way to entertain your guests and ensure that they are leaving your restaurant very happy. It’s a time for guests to catch up with friends and family and kick back and relax. Be sure to offer them some creative spins of what you do best and suggest that they pair your familiar yet new and exciting dish with a delicious cocktail. Cheers, y’all!
Photos courtesy of the Besh Restaurant Group.