Hyper-local sourcing. According to the National Restaurant Association, this is the hottest food concept trend of 2018, and from fine dining restaurants to your local craft cocktail bar, more and more Florida foodservice operations are joining in.
But what exactly is hyper-local?
Hyper-local is the idea of growing and sourcing ingredients as close to their points of consumption as possible. This can mean a restaurant garden, beer being brewed on-site, using house-made items such as picked vegetables, or even using herbs in a cocktail that are pulled from a growing cabinet behind the bar.
There are many reasons why locally-sourced ingredients are so important.
First of all, they show a dedication to quality. When you control how things are grown or have transparency into the process, it's much easier to ensure you're getting high quality, every time. Local sourcing is also a great way to build relationships within the community, and supporting local farmers and businesses is a great way to build a positive reputation.
It can also be cheaper to find local ingredients. When gasoline and shipping costs aren't built in to food costs, it's better for the bottom line, as well as the environment. With "local" usually comes "sustainable."
The real way to save and control quality, though, is to actually grow ingredients yourself. As we mentioned, restaurant gardens are becoming more and more common as a way to control the types of ingredients used, the quality of those ingredients, and the cost it takes to use them.
Here's how you can capitalize on 2018's top food concept trend:
Bring the garden into your kitchen. Literally.
We know it's not always possible to have a true garden right outside your restaurant or Florida foodservice operation, but it is possible to bring a garden inside. Essentially, you can bring the farm as close to the table as possible, and a GardenChef Growing Cabinet from Carter-Hoffmann is an easy way to do it.
Growing cabinets allow operators the ability to provide organic ingredients with high nutritional values and great flavors -- year round. Just plant and grow until you're ready to harvest, which can be as little as seven days.
These fully-automated growing systems control light, water, and air circulation for optimal growth, and they come with 39 pre-programmed cycles for the most common types of greens. Custom cycles are also available.
With GardenChef, restaurants can grow microgreens and lettuces for amazing salads. Bars can grow herbs for more flavorful and aromatic cocktails. And operators can make it as easy as possible to join in on the top food concept trend of 2018.