Opportunity for Innovation

In today’s uncertain business environment the tendency for operators to stick to what is tried and tested is commonplace however innovation can play a key role in responding to an industry in flux. Celebrated restaurateur, Alessandro Khojane,owner of Gemelli, shares his top tips on how to innovate your menu and take advantage of new opportunities for business growth in the rise of the New Normal.

According to Alex “A new environment means new rules of engagement and more importantly new opportunities to innovate , business leaders must not be scared to try new things, now is a great time to test the waters”.

Getting back to business poses daily challenges one of which is attracting anxious customers back into the eat-out environment with growing concerns around health and safety. The new business environment calls for a shift in thinking.

The first step is to rationalise your menu, for more information on rationalising your menu CLICK HERE. Once you have the basics down and customers have enjoyed your best sellers it’s a great time to introduce some new offerings.

Here are some tips from our industry expert on how to innovate your menu today:

Creativity Is Currency In The New Normal

Creativity is a key driver of innovation however, tapping into creativity in a stressful time can be challenging.

For Alex a passion for food drives his creativity, “Sometimes it’s something I’ve smelt or tasted and other times I get inspired based on the ingredients in the fridge.”

 Consumers have rediscovered a passion for home cooking so creating meal experiences that can’t be easily replicated will drive differentiation and according to Alex this requires thinking outside the box.

“I recently added Lamb Ragu pasta, which is a Sotho inspired dish” says Alex, “I converted the traditional Sotho dish which is Lamb stew with pap, by replacing the lamb stew with leg of lamb, the pap with pasta and layered the pumpkin in the plate as the veg.

From Single Serve To Family Meals

With more consumers working and schooling from home the needs of our customers have shifted. Now more than ever, people are seeking multi-serve meal solutions that can feed families instead of single serve meals more appropriate for restaurant sit down.

 “We have always done single serve or family style pasta meals, but after a couple of days, we discovered that families wanted meals that could feed a family of 4 and more” says Alex.

 “We adapted the menu to include family sized meals and amended the availability of certain meals during the week vs over weekends. For example, the Lamb neck meal that we serve with mash and veggies, was more popular over weekends, so now it is a weekend dish and not available during the week.”

Boost Profit With Add On Items

Small add-on menu items create an avenue for incremental sales, something operators seeking to improve business profitability will need in the new operating environment.

New Solutions For A New Normal

While many of your menu items may remain the same, you may need to turn to the market for new solutions that can meet your new requirements. McCain SureCrisp is a natural product specifically designed for an improved delivery experience. To learn more about McCain SureCrisp and how you can deliver crispy chips in up to 30 minutes click here.

In summary innovation during this uncertain time can be daunting but the rewards for getting it right far out-weigh the risks.


Stand a chance to win 1 of 2 exclusive menu consultation sessions with Alex by responding to this mail with a copy of your menu. T&C’s apply. Closing date 3 July 2020.